Author: Leslie Olguin

The Great Alabama Blizzard of 2018

The Great Alabama Blizzard of 2018

Two days ago, we woke up to probably like 3 to 4 inches of snow. I live in central Alabama, so snow comes very rarely and always leaves us in a panic, but it was nice to look at! I had the day off work, as the streets were frozen over and the government closed all the bridges going into the city due to ice, so I just stayed home with the puppies!

Disclaimer: the reason we panic when snow comes is because we don’t have all the resources available to us here that most of you in the north have. No one has ever salted the roads before a snowstorm. I don’t even know that we have people who could do that this far south. They put lots of dirt down on the roads AFTER the ice showed up, but we had no way to treat the roads beforehand. If you go into bigger places like Atlanta and Birmingham, you’ll see big tents on the side of the road every fifteen miles or so, and those tents are filled with salt. The cities DO have those kinds of resources, and have been pretty good about using them in recent years, but I don’t live in a big city. We don’t have big tents full of salt. So the roads ice over, and no matter what anyone says you just can’t drive on ice! Schools, businesses, and entire city governments shut down. Roads are closed. In my county, every road and bridge was deemed UNPASSABLE by the county government for two days. I learned this week that if you drive on closed roads or roads deemed unpassable and you get in a wreck, your insurance WILL NOT cover it! I know right? So we all stay home and play in the snow instead.

Anyway. Here’s some photos of my dogs playing in the snow. It took some time, but eventually they all learned to love it. Gidget, especially, loved the snow.

She would stick her whole head into the snow and then come inside with it stuck all over her face
Gidget and Abel. Abel was the snow’s worst fan. He does not handle the cold well so he spent most of the day inside.

She would also pounce on the snow, and it would puff up in her face, and so she’d pounce again, and it would puff up some more, and she’d keep pouncing. It was super cute.

Gidget and Dennis
Dennis is my brother’s dog. He didn’t really understand what was going on but he still had a good time.

Gidget and Dennis chasing Lou. Lou was also not a fan of the snow. My poor short-haired puppies.
She just had the best time of her life. She’s from Oklahoma so she probably remembers snow from her puppyhood.

Winter Wonderland! It’s been many, many years since the snow actually stuck to the roads!

 

Plan With Me: January 2018

Plan With Me: January 2018

Can you believe it’s January already because I definitely can’t??? 2018???? Where did 2017 go??? How is this happening??? Make it stop???

Anyway, so here’s my January 2018 setup, several days late, of course. Not much has changed from December to January, still in my undyed medium Gillio Compagna (and the patina is coming along so nicely!) but I’ve got some new inserts I wanted to show you guys so off we go!

For 2018, all my monthly inserts have come from SewMuchCrafting on Etsy! I love these inserts because I accidentally bought the wrong pack when I was buying my weekly inserts, so I just needed a monthly that wasn’t printed front and back and SewMuchCrafting delivered in a spectacular way! These are the Printed Personal Sized Single-Sided Month-On-Two-Pages Monday-Sunday inserts, because Monday-start is just how my brain works these days. They are printed on super high-quality paper that I love and are just super simple and functional and I highly recommend them!

As an aside, I had previously bought a glitter clip from OliBlock and just wasn’t impressed with it. It didn’t seem to hold anything well and was constantly falling off. After I had commented something to that effect on an Instagram post, the OliBlock team reached out to me to offer an exchange or a refund, since they have a 100% satisfaction guarantee. I opted for an exchange and got the purple metallic clip featured above and am SO GLAD that I did, because it is 100 times better than the sparkle clip. Apparently, there is something going on with the sparkle clips’ ability to actually keep a magnetic hold, because I wasn’t the only person with that complaint, but the metallic clip is out of this world.

Anyway, carrying on:

My weekly inserts for this year are from Crossbow Printables. I had actually intended to get her full 2018 set of inserts (monthly, weekly, goal-setting, etc. etc. etc.) but I got in a hurry when I was purchasing and ended up buying just the weekly inserts instead. That’s okay, though, because they are still super lovely and functional and beautifully printed on high-quality paper and I am obsessed with them. When it’s time to buy 2019 inserts I am going to pay more attention and actually get her full set for 2019!

The adorable pug stickers are from LoveOfFilo, and if you hurry you may be able to snag 45% off with the code SEEYOULATER before her shop-going-on-vacation-for-an-undetermined-amount-of-time-sale ends!

Daily pages haven’t changed a bit. Still doing bullet-journal-style rapid-logging, still working on Tomoe River personal-size ring paper from PaperPenguinCo. As they say, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, and this part of my system certainly ain’t broke.

I’m still doing a daily gratitude log and habit tracker. Nothing has changed there, and my monthly tasks log is moving right along, as well.

My friend Kadee made me a new set of dividers for my non-monthly sections, so now I have some adorable top-tab dividers for Dailies, Work Notes, Personal Notes, Collections, Health and Wellness, and Recipes. I’ll have to do a separate post just to show those because they are freaking adorable and I don’t have any photos of them right now. Team Top Tabs for Life!

So that’s basically my 2018 Gillio setup. I may not do another Plan With Me post unless something drastically changes between now and then, but I have no reason to suspect it will at this moment.

I’ve also got some other notebooks I’m using for non-planning related purposes, and I’ll do a separate post to detail all of those later, too!

Let me know if you’ve got any questions! All shops are linked. 🙂

Happy New Year!

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2017: The Year of the Planner

2017: The Year of the Planner

2017, as I’m sure has been seen, was undoubtedly the Year of the Planner here at Bibliophilotherian. I spent a lot of time (and money, unfortunately) trying to find the ever-elusive *~*~*~planner peace~*~*~*, and find it, I finally did.

BUT, just for funsies, here’s a run down of all the different types of planning styles I tried this year.

Style #1: Traditional Bullet Journal

This is what worked for me throughout most of 2016, and for solidly half of 2017. I was working out of a single notebook, an A5 Leuchtturm 1917. It was everything you expected a traditional bullet journal to be. I drew out my monthly, weekly, and daily spreads, I had collections, I used markers and colored pencils and attempted (key word) to make it look attractive for the Internet. And yet, I wasn’t entirely happy with it. I hated (and I mean hated) having to draw out my monthly and weekly spreads. I am not a creative person, and so I always felt like I was falling short of the fantastic Instagram bullet journal spreads. I know this was not the purpose of the bullet journal, but still. I didn’t like that I had to spend an hour or more every week just trying to make it so I could start to plan for the week. I try to be more about function over form, and that just wasn’t very functional for me. (Important to note at this point that I had already starting doing the two-column style daily planning, and that has been consistent across all these different styles I’ve tried). Enter planning style #2, stage left, please.

Style #2: Bullet Journal in an A5 Traveler’s Notebook

Sometime in June, Foxy Fix held one of their fabulous Mystery Sales. I had been doing some research in the bullet-journal-in-a-traveler’s-notebook community for a while, and I was really thinking that this was going to solve all my planner problems. After all, the TN style gave me the ability to have an insert for dailies, an insert for collections (solving that pesky your-notebook-is-filled-but-your-collections-aren’t-complete-so-you-have-to-redraw-everything-in-a-new-notebook-every-six-months problem), and pre-printed inserts for weekly and monthly calendars, which is like the key for me.

So I managed to snag a No. 8 Foxy Fix in the Mystery Sale and I anxiously awaited its delivery to my door. Now, I’ve seen some very poor attitudes towards the Mystery Sale in the My Foxy Fix group on Facebook and in general on Instagram – everybody wants to pay half price for a FN, nobody wants to get a single-strap FN. People would legitimately be bitching about getting a crazy good discount and *~*~*~only~*~*~* getting a single. Like #1, be happy you got anything at all. #2, sell that shit if you don’t like it. #3, stop bitching that is such a first-world problem omfg.

Anyway, I digress. I got a No. 8 Sugar Cotton Candy single-strap with no stitching in the Mystery Sale and I was stoked. After all, this was just an easy and inexpensive way for me to try out the bullet-journal-in-a-TN method. I loaded up the single (managed to fit six or so inserts in it at one point) and carried it around for about a month. Once I decided this system would definitely work for me (oh, how young and naïve I was), I went ahead and invested the money into a custom-made Foxy Notebook – a No. 8 Sugar Cookie, wide fitting, with black stitching and elastics, left card slots, right secretarial pocket with pen loop, and with my initials embossed on the spine in black.

A peek at my daily in the No. 8 – not much has changed about this particular part
I really wanted to love the Sugar Cookie.

The Sugar Cookie took 28 whole business days to complete and ship, and an additional 3 days to arrive at my house, but that was fine by me. For those not familiar, Foxy Fix’s wide fitting has six strings, which means it can hold anywhere from six to twelve inserts, depending on how stuffed you like them to be. I carried the Sugar Cookie wide for about a month before I gave it up as a lost cause – I just don’t stuff them enough to make a wide fitting worth it. After I had a miscarriage in July, I went on a pity-me-spending-spree and spent way more money than I should have in a (failed) attempt to make myself feel better. That’s how I wound up with a No. 8 Boss Babe Kate, compact fitting, left and right secretarial pockets, with grey stitching, grey elastic, and my initials embossed in silver on the spine. The compact fitting has 4 strings and can hold 4 to 8 inserts, again depending on how stuffed you like them to be.

Loved the Boss Babe leather – so lush
Still keeping the two-column dailies running

The problem that I quickly realized I had with the No. 8 size was just that – it’s size! It was so big, and so heavy, and didn’t fit in all of my bags (which I hated). It was a lot to tote around and was not easy to reference when I was out and about. My solution? Planning Style #3.

Style #3: Dual Traveler’s Notebook System – No. 4 and No. 8

No. 4 Boss Babe Madison Ave

This was a very short-lived planning style. I attempted to make my No. 8 Kate my stay-at-home planner, and my No. 4 Madison my on-the-go planner. I quickly realized I cannot make a dual-planning-system work. There were things in my No. 8 that I needed at work but couldn’t reference because it was at home, and I was just not a fan of the No. 4 personal size (funny because it circles back to this eventually). While I was attempting to sell my No. 8 Sugar Cookie, someone offered to trade me their No. 5 (B6 size) Bay Blackout – a vintage Foxy Fix notebook that I had been trying to get my hands on in the No. 8 size for a while. I jumped at the opportunity, and thus we begin planning style #4.

Style #4: Bullet Journal in a B6 Traveler’s Notebook

No. 5 Bay Blackout
Still at it with the two-column dailies

I stayed in this stage for quite a while, albeit with multiple different No. 5/B6 traveler’s notebooks. I loved the B6 size – it was the perfect mix of portability and space. Dimensionally, it was the same as A5 so I didn’t feel like I was losing valuable writing space, but it was much easier to throw in my bag and go. I had the Bay Blackout, a Chic Sparrow Outlander Verona (which I loved – such a lush, thick, delicious full-grain leather. Full Disclosure: that line is now discontinued 🙁 sad), and eventually a small collection of No. 5 single-straps.

My small collection of No. 5 Foxy Fix TNs – from left to right, Wanderlust Butterscotch, Sugar Coconut, Autumn Rose, Southwestern Santa Fe, plus No. 0 Sugar Icing and No. 0 Wanderlust Licorice

I thought I was done when I had the Bay Blackout and the Outlander Verona, but then Foxy Fix released their limited-edition Autumn Rose single-strap, and my husband acquiesced to my purchasing it (I had promised time and again that I was done buying planners – the lie detector test determined THAT was a lie!). As soon as it delivered, I was a single-strap convert. I loved the compact size, I loved how everything sat, I loved that it didn’t have pockets (as it turned out, I wasn’t much of a pocket girl after all), I loved that it didn’t require the reinforced spine (aesthetically, it’s lovely but functionally, the reinforced spine sucked ball sacks). I quickly sold the Bay Blackout and the Outlander Verona and purchased three more single-strap Foxy Notebooks (much to my husband’s never-ending chagrin).

As it turned out, this, also, was not going to work. While I loved the ability to use pre-printed inserts, to have an insert for dailies, to have an insert for collections, etc. etc. etc. I hated that the only insert that would lay flat was the middle one and that the rest of them had humped pages when I was trying to write. At this point I had discovered the ring-planner community, and thought that might be the solution to all my planner problems (spoiler alert: I was right).  And so, we arrive at Planning Style #5.

Stye #5: Bullet Journal in a Filofax Saffiano Personal Ring Binder

Worked out of rings and strings for a couple weeks while I waited on my new personal ring inserts to be delivered
Waddup two-column dailies again

I joined all the ring-binder Facebook groups I could find and managed to snag an aquamarine Filofax Saffiano personal ring binder for $10! That was the perfect way for me to test whether or not the ring binder system would even work for me – after all, I had already tried a personal-sized TN and didn’t like it one bit!

As it turned out, ring binders were my thang. I was obsessed. I loved that I could still use my pre-printed weekly and monthly calendars, that I could still have my two-column daily pages, that I could have separate collections, that everything was separated by dividers, that the pages lay flat no matter where I was in the binder, and that I could move individual pages around at my leisure! This was a luxury I never knew I needed in a planning system and now I can’t picture my life without it. I started my personal-ring-binder journey in October and haven’t looked back since then! The only change I’ve made is to upgrade my ring binder – while the Saffiano was great, it just felt cheaply made (and I mean, for $10….. come on).  This brings us to the final planning style of 2017.

Style #6: Bullet Journal in a Gillio Firenze Medium Compagna Ring Binder

My Gillio Compagna undyed, the day I received it
The one consistent part of my planner style – two-column dailies all the way

You can’t venture into the ring-binder world without stumbling across Gillio Firenze. Gillio has been making high-end luxury binders for decades, and while I won’t go into the specifics (you can find details in this post specifically about my Gillio) I will say that it is 100% worth every dime you’ll spend on it. Gillio announced its release of the undyed line at PlannerCon Europe in October, and I knew as soon as it was announced that I had to have one. I marked the release date on my calendar and happily managed to snag one the day they came out. My undyed delivered in the second week of November and I have used it every single day since then. I have no desire whatsoever to purchase another planner. I love the way the undyed leather ages with use. I love the ring mechanism. I love the customizability. I love the large back pocket. I love literally everything about this binder. I will never turn back. I have truly found planner peace (and for that, my husband is incredibly thankful – shout out to you for being so awesome about the amount of money I’ve spent on planner stuff this year!).

The undyed Compagna as of December 23, 2017 – it is aging beautifully!

So, there’s my rundown of 2017: The Year of the Planner. I am grateful to have finally found planner peace and hopeful that you all find it, as well! 🙂

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Plan With Me: December 2017

Plan With Me: December 2017

This is many days late in coming, but here’s what I’m working with for December 2017! I made a handful of small changes and am trying a couple new things for the last month of the year.

I’m still working out of my medium undyed Gillio Compagna – I can truly say I have found planner peace with this system!

Look at that patina developing tho

I’m still running the Michael’s Recollections Creative Year monthly and weekly inserts this month. These are undated monthly and weekly inserts – I’ve had to tweak the weekly calendars to be Monday-start rather than Sunday-start, because I just can’t wrap my head around a Sunday-start week!

Dividers from Michael’s Recollections Creative Year Collection in Dark Floral
Monthly overview
Look at that corner shine
Love that gold floral washi – got it from Target!

A standard weekly set up for me this month starts on Monday and has two sections – one for work and personal life, one for school-related tasks. They are color coded, as well: blue ink is for school, black/blue-black ink is for work and personal stuff. Because these are undated, I set them up a week in advance, so I’ve got two weeks running at any given time. That gives me a way to do some short-term forward planning, especially for looking to see upcoming due dates for school. Any long-term forward planning happens on the monthly calendar.

Standard weekly set up – paperclip from the Target Dollar Spot (AKA Bullseye’s Playground)

I’m trying something new this month by tracking my intake and exercise on a separate tracker. These are hand-drawn and a design I came up with that would work for me – feel free to take the format and use it in any way you may find that works for you! The page is hole-punched on both sides so I can flip the page whichever way I need it to be, depending on what side of the binder my task list for the day is on . This is a desperate attempt to hold myself accountable to my diet-and-exercise goals, and I’m actually on into week 2. So far, so good!

New this month: food logs!
Workout log on the back of the food log

One thing that hasn’t changed in my year-and-a-half of bullet journaling in its various formats has been the inclusion of a monthly gratitude log in my monthly set-up. I think it’s very important to keep up with a gratitude log each day, and I intend to (one day, eventually) dedicate a whole post to the importance of having a habit of gratitude, so keep your eyes peeled for that!

Monthly gratitude log

The habit tracker is another tool I’ve had in every style of bullet journal I’ve tried. In my B6 TN, I was using a weekly habit tracker. Now that I’m in rings, I’ve gone back to a monthly habit tracker. Full disclosure: these aren’t all habits. Really, this is just a handy tool for me to keep up with how often I’m doing certain things. For example, I’m tracking exercise and how often I shampoo my hair. My goal is not, by any means, to do both of those things every day, but including them on my habit tracker is a good way to see how consistent I’m being, and it holds me accountable to things I think are important.

The monthly tasks list is just a perpetual list of things that need to get done around the house at least once a month. Bathing the dogs, clipping their toenails, cleaning the floors, vacuuming, cleaning the bathrooms, washing my car, etc. etc. etc.

December habit tracker on the left, monthly tasks list on the right

New this month is a perpetual TBR list. As we approach the end of 2017 and I realize how miserably I failed at reaching my reading goal for this year (24 books read out of a 36 book goal as of this posting), I think I’ll be more successful going into 2018 if I keep a list handy of books I know I want to read that I can refer to whenever I find myself in a bookstore or browsing online for books. We’ll see how useful this proves to be over the course of the next few months.

Also new this month: TBR list

What does your December set up look like? Have you got any goals moving into the new year?

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Christmas Gifts for the Papyrophile in Your Life: A Guide

Christmas Gifts for the Papyrophile in Your Life: A Guide

Somehow, someway, it’s already the Christmas season! I can’t believe it, but I hear time goes faster the older you get and it seems to be ringing true.

Since the Christmas season is, indeed, upon us, I’ve taken the liberty of compiling a gift guide that can be passed along to husbands, parents, siblings, friends, and miscellaneous family that is appropriate for any papyrophile (a person who loves paper, notebooks, stationery, etc.) regardless of their budget! Enjoy!

***Disclaimer: All of these thoughts are my own. I am not getting paid or reimbursed or any product for anything I say here. I just love recommending shit to people, especially when it’s shit that I love! Carry on.

A Ring-Bound Planner:

Given my new-found love for ring-bound planners, of course this was going to be the first thing on my list. I’m going to offer you three options of varying price, depending on your budget!

  1. Webster’s Pages Personal Binder: regularly priced $24.99, ON SALE AT THE TIME OF WRITING FOR $12.50!!!!! (binder only) or binder and inserts, regularly priced $34.99 but on sale right now for $17.50! These are a super fun option because they are incredibly affordable, come in lots of cute colors and designs, are relatively durable for the price, and (BONUS) can be bought online or at your local craft store (Michael’s, Hobby Lobby, and Joann’s I believe all carry this line). The website states they come with a 1″-1.25″ ring mechanism, which is 25mm-30mm, but I’m not sure how it varies? You don’t get an option to pick 25mm or 30mm that I can see, but whatever. This is a great option for someone on a limited budget, especially if you snatch up the sale prices and get the whole kit with all your inserts already (although the company inserts may not work for everyone), or for someone who wants to try out ring binders to see if it’s the right planning style for them before they drop the money for a more expensive ring binder.
  2. Filofax USA Personal Ring Binder: Filofax is kind of the OG of ring planners, and TBH they have a ton of options for any price range, going from $38 on the low end for a personal Filofax Domino to $220 on the high end for a personal Filofax Classic Croc. Probably your best bet for middle-of-the-line personal ring binders will be either the Filofax Saffiano ($59) or the Filofax Original ($101). The Saffiano is a faux leather binder that comes in fun pop colors, has one pen loop, card pockets and a secretarial pocket on the left and a flap for inserting a notepad on the right. The Original (pictured) is made of real leather (though the site doesn’t specify what type), also comes in fun pop colors or more traditional ones, and features two card pockets, one slip pocket, two elastic pen loops, and one multifunctional elastic holder. Bonus with Filofax is that all binders automatically come with inserts – the Saffiano will come with your choice of a 2017 set or a 2018 set, while the Original comes with an undated perpetual year set. Both come with 23mm Filofax ring mechanisms, as well.
  3. Gillio Firenze Medium Compagna: This is (IMHO) the god of all ring binders. I cannot say enough good things about the Compagna. Vegetable-tanned full-grain Italian calfskin leather (aka the highest-quality leather money can buy), plenty of pockets and card slots, a zippered pocket on the left for change, a flexible pen loop, a leather flyleaf, plus that large document pocket on the back, 25mm Krause rings (the gold standard of ring mechanisms), and a lifetime guarantee. It really doesn’t get better than this, and for a whopping starting price of $286 + $25 shipping to the US you had better feel like you’re getting your money’s worth (trust me – you are!). Pictured is the Yale Blue Compagna, but they come in a variety of colors, plus printed croco, bicolor, printed ostrich, and real ostrich leather (which will run you upwards of $800!). You can also add-on Gillio’s medium inserts and a ton of other stuff, and each of their organizers comes with a free Gillio ballpoint pen in the color of your choice.

BONUS OPTION: Van Der Spek Touch Me Standard: These are EXTREMELY similar to the Compagnas, but come with a slightly lower price point. The VDS TM is a good option that falls in between the Filo Original and the Gillio. You’ve got a choice of five colors of French buffalo leather, plus the same inside features as the Gillio. VDS gives you the option of 25mm OR 30mm Krause rings depending on how much you like to stuff your planner, and will run you approximately $170 total (including taxes and shipping).

A Traveler’s Notebook:

Traveler’s notebooks are a great option as a gift for the stationery-lover in your life because they can be used for about a million different purposes. They can be actual traveler’s notebooks, used to document travels. They can be planners. They can be wallets. They can be journals, memory keepers, literally practically anything you may imagine. Here’s three options of varying price:

  1. May Designs for Target Planner Folio: At $19.99, this is probably the cheapest you’ll be able to find a TN, and it comes with inserts already! This would be considered a cahier-sized TN, and would fit Moleskine Cahier notebooks and other 5×8 notebooks. This is a great value option for someone just testing out the system. They’ve got two secretarial pockets, a pen loop, and come in a handful of different cover styles.
  2. Mystics Little Gifts B6 TN Cover: At the time of this writing, this particular leather (linked) was the only style she still had in-stock, BUT there are usually lots of other options, as well, including full-grain, top-grain, and milled leathers. $40 gets you the classic TN with four elastics and nothing else, but she offers a-la-carte options to customize each TN, which include adding a stitched cover, interior and exterior pockets, reinforced spine, a pen loop, additional elastics, and a larger spine (to hold more inserts). The a-la-carte options range in price from $1 to $13, so it’s totally feasible that you can get a B6 TN (the largest size she offers currently) for under $60.
  3. Foxy Fix Foxy Notebook Cover: Foxy offers ten different leather styles currently, with both full-grain and top-grain leathers available, in probably over 100 different colors! They truly are able to offer a style, color, and texture for almost any person in the market. A fully-loaded compact (four string) No. 7 (cahier-sized) Foxy complete with interior pockets, pen loop, and foiled front cover and spine embossing will run you $121 + shipping in their original styles; a Lush or Spice fully-loaded No. 7 compact (these have a different interior pocket configuration and a large back pocket, similar to the Compagna ring binders) will cost you $137 + shipping. Add $7 to each if you want to upgrade to a wide fitting (six strings). You can also opt for a FN without pockets, pen loop, embossing, etc., and they offer FN singles, as well, which run significantly less than their couture options but also are far less customizable. Pictured is a wide Spice Thyme.

BONUS OPTION: Chic Sparrow Traveler’s Notebooks: Chic Sparrow falls (price-range wise) somewhere between MLG and FF. A Wide (cahier-sized) Deluxe TN, which comes with stitching, internal pockets, four strings, and a pen loop will run you about $113. Chic Sparrow also offers a Classic option, which is just the TN cover with four strings for $87.99 in the Wide size, and has a handful of options you can add at an additional cost from there. Chic Sparrow TNs are all full-grain leather and are very high-quality. Pictured is a Deluxe Mr. Darcy Carie Harling Violet TN.

Bound Notebooks:

Maybe a customizable insert-based system isn’t what works for the papyrophile in your life. In that case, here are three options for bound notebooks that will work beautifully for bullet journaling, regular journaling, note taking… basically anything you could want to use a bound notebook for!

  1. Essentials Dot-Matrix A5 Notebook: Featuring an inside back cover pocket, elastic band to keep the journal closed, ribbon bookmark, hardcover binding, and 192 pages of 100 gsm acid-free archival dot-grid paper for $9.92 on Amazon, this is a really great entry-level bullet journal-style notebook.
  2. Rhodia A5 Webnotebook: This hardbound dot-grid notebook comes with 96 sheets of 90g ivory Clairefontaine paper, an Italian leatherette hardcover, an elastic closure band, inner pocket, and ribbon bookmark, and will cost you $19.95 on the Goulet Pens website! The Clairefontaine paper is fantastic, super-smooth, fountain pen friendly paper, and the notebook itself comes in a handful of colors.
  3. The Official Leuchtturm1917 Bullet Journal A5 Notebook: Currently offered in emerald or black, this *~*~official~*~* bullet journal is blind embossed on the front with Ryder Carroll’s Bullet Journal logo and features pre-printed key and index pages, 240 numbered  (front and back) dot-grid pages, an elastic closure band, and three (not one, not two, but THREE) ribbon bookmarks. At the low, low price of $24.95 on the Goulet Pens website, this notebook is sure to please any die-hard bullet journalist in your life!

BONUS OPTION: Zequenz Classic 360 Soft-Bound A5 Grid journal: I own this notebook in the B6 size and feel honor-bound to list it here because I just think it’s a super handy notebook. It’s soft bound but lays flat and rolls up easily, it’s got 200 pages (400 total, front and back) of 70 GSM premium acid-free fountain-pen-friendly grid paper (which I prefer to dot paper, to be totally honest), and comes with a nifty magnetic bookmark, as well. For $21.95 on Amazon, you really can’t beat the price for the quality and sheer number of pages you’re getting, and I love my B6 size (which is slightly cheaper, clocking in at $18.95 on Amazon).

Fountain Pens:

I exclusively write with fountain pens. I am obsessed with them and think they are just the greatest things. Here are three of my favorites on the low-end of the fountain pen price range (cause this shit gets expensive quick):

  1. Caliarts Ego Transparent Piston-Filled Fountain Pen: These can be found on eBay for anywhere from $10 to $12. They are a Chinese kind of a knock-off pen, but I own one and it’s honestly one of my favorite pens. It has a huge ink capacity, the piston-filling mechanism is super smooth, and the steel F nib is buttery and lush. It’s a clear demonstrator pen, which is also super fun when you’re using colored ink.
  2. Pilot Metropolitan: The Metro was my first-ever fountain pen, and so I’ve got a soft spot in my heart for it. Offered in F or M nibs and had for $15 at the Goulet Pens website, these are super nifty little pens that make for a great starter pen if you’re first getting into the FP world. They take proprietary Pilot ink cartridges or a squeeze converter (both included), or you can purchase a twist converter separately – both converters would allow you to use bottled ink with your pen. These are just super fun!
  3. TWSBI 580AL: These come in a myriad of colors and nib sizes, and are the original version of the Caliarts Ego dupe mentioned above. Running you anywhere from $50 to $60 at Goulet Pens, depending on the style and color you choose, TWSBIs are super fun and super smooth-writing piston-filled fountain pens with an awesome reputation for quality.

BONUS OPTION: Pilot Vanishing Point Decimo: Included here because this is my workhorse EDC fountain pen that goes everywhere I go. You can’t beat the rhodium-plated 18k gold retractable nib for taking quick notes and not having to worry about screwing off a cap. They have a relatively good ink capacity and take both proprietary Pilot cartridges and converters. They come in a variety of colors and nib sizes, and are just an awesome pen to have in your collection. Tipping the scales at $140 from Goulet Pens, this is the most expensive fountain pen that I’ll recommend, but it has been 100% worth the money since I bought it as a Christmas gift for myself in December 2015. 10/10 would recommend again and again.

Other accessories and recommendations, in no particular order:

 

So there you have it! A fairly thorough gift-giving-guide for the stationery lover in your life. Let me know in the comments if you have any additional recommendations! 🙂

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Gillio Firenze Medium Compagna and My Foray Into Ring Planners

Gillio Firenze Medium Compagna and My Foray Into Ring Planners

Things have been a little quiet over here at Bibliophilotherian the past few weeks. That’s partly because (once again) my MBA classes started up and that absorbs 99.9% of my free time. BUT, the other reason for my radio silence is because I have made a huge leap into ring planners, and I wanted to get my hands on my news greatest bestest ring planner ever before I went into the nitty gritty details with you guys about what and why and when and how.

And now here it all goes!

I had been not happy for a while with my TN planning system. I loved the separate notebooks, I loved the inserts for weekly and monthly calendars while still being able to have my rapid-logging dailies and I loved the collections being separate and having space for notes and everything that comes with a TN.

What I didn’t love is that only my middle inserts would lay flat, and the ones in the front and the back would have awful humps in them while I was trying to write. What I didn’t love was that it still didn’t “feel” professional. What I didn’t love was that I still couldn’t move individual pieces of paper around if I wanted them to be grouped together (say I wanted all my monthly gratitude logs in a row, one after another. Not feasible, unless I have an entire insert dedicated exclusively to gratitude logs. Which, no. Just no.).

So, I saw where @annie.plans and @julies_plans and @emma_plans had all made the switch into ring planners on their Instagram accounts, and they can take full credit for planting the seed! So I found a cheap personal Filofax on a Facebook BST page, I deconstructed and hold-punched some of my old personal-sized TN inserts from my two-week foray into the FF #4 TN, and dove headfirst into the ring planner world.

LET ME JUST SAY it was planner peace at first setup. I bought a set of Recollections monthly and weekly inserts with dividers and started rocking and rolling.

Not even a week later, Gillio Firenze, whose website I had been obsessing over since I saw Annie’s and Julie’s Gillios on their IG accounts, announced they were releasing an UNDYED LEATHER RING PLANNER and I knew I had to have it, so I impulse-bought it.

After a harrowing 24 hours, (so many people were trying to order on Gillio’s page that we crashed the website and not everyone’s orders went through) I finally got my confirmation email and my Undyed Apoca Medium Gillio Compagna was on its way to me!

What’s special about the Compagna in particular is that it has a large pocket on the back of the planner that can hold folded pieces of standard-sized letter paper – this was KEY for me, because my main issue with smaller-than-A5 sized planners is that there is no place for me to keep my monthly bills without them sticking awkwardly out of the top of the planner. The Compagna solves that problem, and my bills fit nicely inside the top pocket.

Large back pocket pictured here

The undyed Epoca leather is special in that it is Gillio’s most delicate and least-processed leather. If you know me, you know that I adore leather that will patina and age and mark over time, and this is the shining characteristic about the undyed Epoca. Given that I’ve promised my husband this is the last planner I will buy (hahahahahahah), I’m super stoked to see how it ages with use!

As soon as I got my hands on this ring planner, I knew that was it. The leather is so soft, supple, and gloriously pebbled. There are ample pockets to put paper, stickers, notepads, a ruler, and my ever-necessary check register, plus the aforementioned back pocket to hold bills and loose paper. The 25mm Krause rings are absolutely a dream. Since Krause rings are interchangeable, I can also upgrade to 30mm rings or gold rings if I should ever feel the need (but right now, I don’t). The pen loop on the right side is a titch small, but my planner pen (Pilot VP Decimo EF) fits snugly inside it so no biggie there. The clasp provides plenty of length (so feel free to stuff it!) and is very sturdy. The leather flyleaf that comes with the Compagnas is just velvety soft and super lush, and makes for a nice view when opening up the planner. I especially love that there’s no outside branding on the planner – the only branding is on the inside left front pocket, seen above. I’m not one for outside branding, so that was a plus for me!

Now I’m just going to move along into some photos of my set-up:

Front cover behind the leather flyleaf
Monthly and weekly divider covers – these are from Recollections and are super cute. Like $10 also for a 12 month set
Monthly – check out that 50 Shades of Grey Oliclip!
Weekly view – I love decorating my monthly and weekly calendars with stickers and washi 🙂
The workhorse of every planner system I’ve had – the bullet-journal-style dailies!

What I love about ring planners is the ability to move pages around, and that everything lies flat! The 25mm Krause rings are just the right size for me – big enough to hold everything but not so big as to make writing on the left side of the binder uncomfortable or awkward. I can rearrange pages as I see fit, and I can pull out months and add months as necessary. Right now I’m working with a six month spread of weeklies and monthlies, and will probably keep November in until January, and then pull out November and add in May, and so on and so forth. I’ve also got a year-at-a-glance page in case I need to plan out further than six months, but that rarely happens.

Here’s where I’m gonna level with you – these don’t come cheap. A medium single-color Compagna is going to run you more than $300 with shipping included. Kind of a hefty price tag for a ring planner, I know. But what you’re getting is a quality, hand-crafted leather binder that will literally last you for the rest of your life. They come with a lifetime guarantee, so if anything breaks (rings included) Gillio will repair or replace it. These are built to last, and they’re designed to be used. You can buy one of your own by visiting the Gillio Firenze webpage.

If you’re not quite ready to dish out that kind of dinero, check out the Gillio Marketplace on Facebook. Lots of second-hand Gillios are listed there for reasonable prices. But I can assure you, you won’t regret this purchase!

 

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A Spoiler-Free Book Review: Lair of Dreams by Libba Bray

A Spoiler-Free Book Review: Lair of Dreams by Libba Bray

So this has been a long time coming – I actually finished this book several weeks ago, but my MBA classes cranked back up and I just hadn’t had the free seconds to write up a review on Libba Bray’s Lair of Dreams. BUT, now I have a few free minutes so here we go:

Before I really get going, let me just make a disclaimer here: Libba Bray is the author of my all-time favorite series of young adult fantasy books, the Gemma Doyle trilogy of books (A Great and Terrible Beauty, Rebel Angels, and The Sweet Far Thing, each of which can be purchased by clicking on the respective links). These books are on par with Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings in my heart and head, and if you’re going to read anything Libba for the first time please start with Gemma’s story! I have read these books almost every single year, without fail, since the first one was released in 2003. I have gifted the first book to many friends – any time I participate in a book swap, A Great and Terrible Beauty is the book that goes out. I promise you won’t be disappointed!!!

Ok – now let’s get into the bulk of this post. Lair of Dreams is book no. 2 in The Diviners series, the first book being (not unexpectedly) entitled The Diviners. Your cast of characters is much the same, to include:

  • Evie
  • Theta
  • Henry
  • Uncle Will
  • Sam
  • Jericho
  • Mabel
  • the Proctor sisters

And a couple of new additions, namely:

  • Ling
  • Wai Mei
  • Louis
  • Memphis
  • Blind Bill

The story picks up about a year from where The Diviners left off, with diviners being the new big thing in the Big Apple. Without going too much into the plot of the story and giving it all away, let’s just say that divining getting bigger and bigger is perhaps not the best thing. Everyone’s powers seem to be getting stronger and they all seem to be tied to a new, central source. I am super stoked to see how this develops over the course of the third (and, I believe, the final) book in the series!

As is always the case with anything Libba Bray writes, my absolute favorite part of this book is the way she builds the story. I’ve read a lot of books in my life, but I’ve never seen an author who can write like Libba writes. She is a wordsmith in the truest sense of the term, and writes in what I can only describe as a cinematic way – I can actually see everything happening in my head as she writes it. All of her books that I own are lovingly dog-eared, underlined, and notated to pieces. I copied complete passages, full pages, over into my commonplace book because that’s just how good she is.

What I have to admire the most is the depth of research that went into this book. With the introduction of Ling and Wei Mai, both of whom are Chinese immigrants in America during the Chinese Exclusion Act, Bray went to painstaking lengths to ensure that historical and cultural accuracy are represented by these two characters and their family members. As I read the book, I was researching some of the topics and symbolism that came up, and Bray has interspersed Chinese symbolism throughout in ways that aren’t even obvious until later unless you know what you’re looking for! That’s a quality I have always admired about her writing, and I’m so glad to see that it hasn’t changed over the last fourteen years.

Here’s the blurb on the back of my copy of the book:

After a supernatural showdown with a serial killer, Evie O’Neill has outed herself as a Diviner. With her uncanny ability to read people’s secrets, she’s a media darling. It seems like everyone in love with New York City’s latest It Girl – their ‘Sweetheart Seer.’

But while Evie is enjoying the high life, her fellow Diviners Henry DuBois and Ling Chan will fight to keep their powers secret.

A malevolent force is at large, infecting people’s dreams and claiming victims in their sleep. At the edge of it all lurks a man in a stovepipe hat who has plans of nightmare proportions…

As the sickness spreads, can the Diviners descend into the dreamworld to save the city?

The central source of conflict in this book is the sleeping sickness, which descended upon Chinatown and seems to be spreading outwards across the city. Its victims go to sleep at night and never wake up – they don’t die immediately, though; rather, they seem to be trapped in some kind of nightmare-land from which they can’t awaken, as their bodies are slowly burned up from the inside out until there’s nothing left.

This is what Evie and crew are trying to fight in this book – where is it coming from, who is causing it, why are they doing so, and how do they stop it? Although to be honest, Evie kind of takes a back seat to Henry and Ling, who are featured on the cover of my copy and who play more of a central role in this story than does Evie, who dominated the first book.

That’s truly fine by me, because I think Evie is exceedingly shallow and irritating, and I definitely prefer Henry, Theta, Memphis, Ling, Sam, and Jericho to Evie.

I really enjoyed learning more about each characters’ background and history, as Bray begins to drop significant hints about where they come from throughout this book (you’ve got to be quick and paying close attention to catch some of them, though!). There is truly a character that everyone can relate to in this book, and I can’t recommend it enough.

Overall score: 5/5 stars, definitely add it to your to-read list

Now I am just going to leave you with some of my favorite passages from this book:

I’ve never understood this obsession with where we are from that we Americans seem to have. We are from here, are we not? Sometimes I find this clannishness, these ties to old homelands, ancient traditions, and familial bloodlines, to be nothing more than fear – the same fear that keeps us praying to an absent God. If anything, I hope that our research into the great unknown of Diviners and the supernatural world proves that we are all one, joined by the same spark of energy that owes nothing to countries or religion, good and evil, or any other man-made divisions. We create our history as we go.

America had invented itself. It continued to invest itself as it went along. Sometimes its virtues made it the envy of the world. Sometimes it betrayed the very heart of its ideals. Sometimes the people dispensed with what was difficult or inconvenient to acknowledge. So the good people maintained the illusion of democracy and wrote another hymn to America. They sang loud enough to drown out dissent. They sang loud enough to overpower their own doubts. There were no plaques to commemorate mistakes, but the past didn’t forget. History was haunted by the ghosts of buried crimes, which required periodic exorcisms of truth. Actions had consequences.

“Diviners are truth-tellers. But people rarely want the truth. We say that we want it when, really, we like being lied to. We prefer the ether of hope.”

“But hope is necessary! You have to give people hope,” Mabel insisted.

“Why?”

“Why what?”

Jericho folded his arms across his chest. “In an amoral, violent world, isn’t it unconscionable to keep offering hope? It’s like advertising for soap that never gets you clean.”

“Now you’re just being cynical.”

“Am I? What about war? We keep grappling for power, killing for it. Enslaving. Oppressing. We create ourselves. We destroy ourselves. Over and over. Forever. If the cycle repeats, why bother with hope?”

“But we also overcome. I’ve seen people fight against that sort of oppression and win. What you’re talking about is nihilism. And frankly,” Mabel said, taking a steadying breath, “frankly, that bores me.” Nothing emboldened her quite as much as someone claiming the good fight couldn’t be won.

“How is it nihilism to embrace the cycle and let go – of attachments and morality, yes, and the opiate futility of hope?” Jericho fired back. Mabel’s naiveté annoyed him. She might think she’d seen the world, but, really, she saw only a particular slice of the world, neatly bordered by hedgerows trimmed daily by her parents’ idealism. “All right,” he pressed. “If you believe in hope, what about true evil? Do you believe there is such a thing?”

Mabel felt as if the question were a test, one she might easily fail. “I believe real evil is brought about by a system that is unjust or by people acting selfishly. By greed.” She’d never really articulated her thoughts on the matter before, and it satisfied her to say them aloud.

“That’s the do-gooder answer.”

Mabel bristled. “I don’t go for the bogeyman. There’s plenty of evil to fight in life without having to make up devils and demons and ghosts. If you believe there is Evil int he world, capital E, doesn’t that take away your belief in fee will? I still maintain that people have choices. To do right. To have hope. To give hope,” Mabel said pointedly.

The land has a memory.

Every stream and river runs with a confession of sorts, history whispered over rocks, lifted in the beaks of birds at a stream, carried out to sea. Buffalo thunder across plains whose soil was watered with the blood of battles long since relegated to musty books on forgotten shelves. Fields once strewn with blue and gray now flower with uneasy buds. The slave master snaps the lash, and generations later, the ancestral scars remain.

Under it all, the dead lie, remembering.

The atoms vibrate, always on the verge of some new shift.

Shift and the electrons lean toward particle or wave.

Shift and the action requires a reaction.

Shift and the stroke of a typewriter elevates i to I, changes God to god.

Shift and the beast acquires a thumb; the thumb, a weapon.

Shift and right become wrongs; the wrongs, justification.

It’s all in the perspective.

And finally – from the Author’s Note:

The story of America is one that is still being written. Many of the ideological battles we like to think we’ve tucked neatly into a folder called “the past” – issues of race, class, gender, sexual identity, civil rights, justice, and just what makes us “American” – are very much alive today. For what we do not study and reflect upon, we are in danger of dismissing or forgetting. What we forget, we are often doomed to repeat. Our ghosts, it seems, are always with us, whispering that attention must be paid.

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.