Journaling as a habit

As the end of the summer approaches in New England, I’m realizing that journaling has become a big part of my habits. Writing, helps me reflect on life, internal conflicts and challenges. It’s a good way to deal with difficulties but also to process pleasant experiences. Journaling enhances reflection but also gratitude.

Happy end of the summer!

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2017 Planners – This is what I am using

Hi there! I hope you’re enjoying the last few days of 2016, which has been an outstanding, fulfilling and interesting year, to say the least. But, tell me, how was this year for you? For me, if I can describe it with one word it would be “GROWTH” in many aspects of my life. It has been crazy at times but also, a great year overall. I can’t complain, I really can’t!

From here on I move on with gratefulness in my heart, but also with high hopes that this year will be even better. Where I will continuing growing spiritually, mentally and also, emotionally. But anyway, a great tool to help us move forward and stay focused is our planners. Whatever it is that inspires you to write it down, set goals, subgoals and write about your progress, I encourage you to do it! Use paper and pens, use your planners, look at them every day, read your notes but most important, capture what sparks creativity, reflection, and ideas. These are great ways to stay in spired and on track.

Now, I would love to show you the planners and journals I will be using for 2017. This is a collection of planners, but also notebooks that I find necessary for me to work on the different aspects of my life. Especially the ones I have decided need more work.

Now, while I definitely recommend you to buy a planner for this upcoming year, you don’t have to — at all — have as many planners or notebooks as I am. This is what works for me and these are the planners that I have carefully selected among a plethora of binders, books, notebooks, new planners and much more. I will show you the pictures I have taken and also describe their purposes one by one. I hope this is helpful but please, let me know your thoughts and also, let me know what planners are you using this year?

My planners are:

  1. Hobonichi Cousin in A5 – This will be the meat and potatoes of my planner system. This is a planner that will house all my future plans and day to day activities pertaining to my personal life — as individual, wife, mom and pup-mom –, my work life, and will help me keep track of everything I need to keep in mind, do, foresee and plan on a daily basis but also in the future. This will serve as both, a life and work planner.
  2.  My hobonichi techo in A6 – This will be my art journal or creative journal. Everything will go for this planner. I used to have a notebook that I used for this purpose but it was getting chunky and I ended up not using it. This small but mighty planner will do better and it is more portable.
  3. Hobonichi weeks — When you are a mom, you realize that there are a few things that are important to keep at hand, such as doctor’s appointments, doctor’s phone numbers, dates, vaccines, school dates, and everything that comes with the lives of little ones. Because I realized that at times I was losing track of what vaccines my child had had or what phone numbers belonged to who — yes I have them on my phone but it is easier to have them written, at least for me — I decided to use a hobonichi weeks, especially to keep memories, milestones and other highlights of my son’s life. This will be a planner that I can take with me on a quick trip to the hospital if need be.
  4. My pocket moleskine — This will be a place for me to write, write, write and write. It helps me stay sane to write things down, when I am overwhelmed, happy, sad, to reflect, to meditate, to ponder, to just let it go. This will be a great way to write things and have this small notebook with me. I can’t wait to use it!
  5. My Filofax pink fluoro in A5 — With inserts from yellow paper house and miscellaneous, this will be my financial planner.
  6. My kikki.K cute daily diary in A5 — This planner, honestly, I bought it because it was cute! It was a complete impulse purchase but I still plan on using it. We might be relocating to another country so I decided to keep this planner as a way to write down things that must get done and keep track of our timeline, especially to know that all things related to our move are in there.

This is it! I am ready to tackle 2017 and make it a year of rennovation, growth and happiness! Next time I will cover how to find your word of the year. I have not found mine yet but I am looking!

Thanks for reading and happy planning for 2017!

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This is my 2016 A6 Hobonichi, it has been with me through all this year. 

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When in doubt, be a unicorn – Happy Monday!

Stationery Mondays

The other day I went to Black Ink, which is a store that sells Japanese goods, including stationery. They have a great variety of all-paper things, and I could easily spend HOURS there! I have written about this store before and you can read about it here

The shop has a great variety of erasers. I was looking into the bowl full of cute erasers and i found this one. I love it and for some reason, this little guy makes me smile so he lives on my desk. I hope it’ll make you smile too! Have a great Monday and a great week. Leave me your comments below and let me know if you like cute erasers.

Thanks for reading this short post,

Em J

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Planner stories from around the world

Meet Isabel from Mexico

Hi everyone, today’s story comes from Mexico, please share it and don’t forget to subscribe to my blog, that way you will be notified whenever I upload a new post.
Thank you for reading!

Who are you? What is your name or instagram name if you don’t want to display your name, where are you from and where do you live?

My name is Isabel, I’m from Mexico and I live in Mexico City; my Instagram name is Issyfrage and I mostly post about my love for stationery, planners, colorful things, positive quotes and sometimes I also post about my everyday life.

What notebooks do you currently use, what for and why these particular notebooks?

I currently use 4 planners which are the following:

  1. This month I’m using a Royal Purple Dokibook with zip as my Main Planner (since I have collected a lot of planners throughout the year, I switch the binder every month, although my sections remain the same) I have 5 different sections:
    1. Yearly and Monthly overview, here I have all the important appointments, due dates, holidays, vacation days, birthdays, concert dates, Netflix premières hahaha!.
    2. Bullet Journal, this is the section I use the most, I jot down all of the things I have to do every single day, from remembering to check my email to meetings with friends, I have a terrible memory, so this section is basically my life saver.
    3. Week at a glance, since my bullet journal contains a lot of important information, I don’t like to decorate too much and get distracted from my tasks, however we Planner Girls love planning because it’s a way of expressing our creativity so in this section I get to use all my beautiful supplies: color pens, washi tape, stickers, stamps, sticky notes etc.
    4. Contacts, in this Planner Community you’re always sending and receiving “happy mail” from your friends around the world, either planners, supplies, anything you can’t find in your country or sometimes even Birthday/ Valentine’s /Christmas surprise packages
    5. Brain Dump, because I always need a blank page where I can write down whatever without worrying about ruining my pretty layouts
  2. A Fluro Pink Original Filofax  as my Fitness Planner: Fitness has always been an important part of my life, so I had to dedicate an entire planner to it; in here I basically track the meals and exercise I do every day and I also have other fun  sections such as: Healthy Recipes, Tips &Tricks, Motivation and Challenges
  3. A Turquoise Domino Filofax as my work binder: This isn’t a planner exactly, but when you’re a Planner Girl, you always want to find a purpose for all the beautiful binders you own, so I decided to use this one for my work. I’m an English teacher, so I always need to have in hand information about my groups, my classes, extra activities, the school activities and so on.
  4. A Neendori traveler’s notebookThis one isn’t a binder so I wanted to use it for something different than organization, inside it I have a notebook I use as my everyday journal, another notebook for gratitude and a third notebook as a creative journal, where I can draw, paint, make doodles, just whatever my soul needs in that moment.

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Why do you plan?

I started planning since I was in the University because I’ve always have had a bad memory and I needed something to keep me on top of things, however, I started “Pretty Planning” almost 2 years ago.

Why did you decide to start posting pictures of your planners?

I can’t remember how I came across the Planner Community on Instagram, but if you check this hashtag, you can immediately feel drawn to it, I knew I wanted to be part of this wonderful community! What better thing that lovely girls and pretty stationary?

What drives you to continue using journals or planners?

I think for a lot of girls, this is the only creative outlet we have time to explore or we feel secure in, I continue to use planners and journals because is the best of both worlds: Something you can use to relax and develop your creative self and also something that helps improve your everyday life and deal with your obligations and responsibilities.

 

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What is your dream and what would you say to people who are working to achieve their own dreams?

I’ve had my fair share of ups and downs in life and I’ve learned that the most important thing is to feel at peace with yourself, to love yourself before anything and anyone else and by achieving this, anything you have ever wanted can become a reality… So my advice is: Be brave enough to love yourself in order to acknowledge that you deserve the realization of your dreams.

Planner related dreams? Free worldwide shipping!

What are your favorite stationery shops?

Kikki k, The Ink Road Shop, The Idea Owl, Hello Papercat, Lovely Scrolling (one of my Mexican friends), YupiYeiPapers and LetsPaperUp (Colombian friends) and Target, unfortunately, we don’t have Target here in Mexico, but everybody knows it’s basically Planner Heaven.

Who are your favorite journalers, entrepreneurs or people that you look up to?

I truly admire and love all the women in the Planner/Journal Community, lately these ladies have been some of my favorite journalers:

My dear friend Tina @pastelpaperplane

My sweet friend Amy @amiecrux

The amazing Sophie @plannerphie

How did you learn to journal the way you do, and what keeps you inspired?

I don’t think you can learn how to journal or even decorate a planner, we all have different styles and perspectives,  we get inspiration from each other and we share our methods for anyone who needs them but at the end you eventually end up finding your own style… Besides, it is extremely frustrating to try to journal or plan or decorate as someone else.

Oh! And there isn’t any better way to continue to be inspired than to check all the planner posts on Instagram, Pinterest and You Tube, I can always get inspired and motivated in these sites.

Tell us about 2017, what are the next steps and how do your journals help you get there?

I’m pretty excited for 2017, I have the feeling it’s going to be a year that will change the direction of my life and in order to do so I know it’s important to continue in this intimidating but so rewarding journey of self-discovery and self-acceptance and I know my journals and planners will be there with me every step of the way because I do need them to continue being this place where I can shelter myself from the outside world and concentrate on only colorful pens, pretty papers, and cute stickers.

As of right now, I’m setting a “Well-Being” Planner/Journal, a binder where I can gather all the beautiful things that cross my path that help me enjoy life even more, a binder where I can turn to every time I need information to become a better person or information that reminds me the valuable being I am whenever is imperative.

Thank you for reading!

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Thank you so much to Isabel for accepting being featured on my blog. Note that all photos belong to Isabel. If you want to borrow any, ask for permission from her.

And of course, don’t forget to follow her on Instagram as @Issyfrage

xox

Em J

New blog section: Writers of their own stories.

Dreamers, but does too. “I am a dreamer but not the only one” the song says. With this in mind, I decided to open a new section where I will feature creative minds and thinkers from around the world. People who have touched my soul and/or who have crossed my path –at least through the Internet– in one way or the other. Each one of this individuals have inspired me.

With this new section, I want to pay homage to all of those amazing people, creative wanderers who have followed their hearts, written their own stories and said “F**ck it, I won’t do what you all expect me to do. I will follow my dreams, do, create and carve my own path. Yes, I will.”

This creative group of people has given me back the drive to pursue my own story, my own dreams and work hard, especially work hard! I will be featuring people from around the globe who use journals, planners, diaries, and really, who use a pen and a piece of paper to create, to let their minds and souls free and touch our spirits along the way. The men and women that you will read about here, all of them carry a journal, a planner or a diary in some shape or form, some of them even have YouTube channels, shops, and stationery physical stores. They are creators and inspire all us to do the same. I will feature their personal stories with the idea that they will encourage you to continue creating, and pursuing what really, REALLY makes you happy.

I really hope you will love it as much as I did writing about them. If you have a suggestion about who to reach out to, do let me know. Enjoy, and keep on moving forward! The world needs more of that, especially right now.

Dreamers but DO-ers
Kayla Ocampo – Creator of

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Kaila is known all over the Internet for her Kawaii-life style. She creates videos on her journaling, she has a shop and is a creator. Kaila has inspired me to journal more, and basically follow my own style of doing things. Kaila has been very kind in responding to every question of my interview so please, go check her story out.

Kaila’s header is “Rainbowholic is a real-life manifestation of dreamy aspirations of a Kawaii Girl who wishes to share positivity & happiness through her lifestyle blog.”

Here’s the interview I made to her. Sit back and enjoy!

1. Who are you? What is your name, where are you from and where do you live?
Hi, I’m Kaila! I’m currently based in Saitama, Japan but I’m originally from Manila, Philippines. I’m a kawaii lifestyle blogger, content creator, and entrepreneur.
2. What notebooks do you currently use, what for and why these particular notebooks?
I have a lot of notebooks with me right now and they all have different purposes. I have my own schedule organizer (from Paper Stone PH) where I plot important dates and such. I use my hobonichi techo (A6) as my daily kawaii journal / diary.I recently got my own Midori Traveler’s notebook and I’m currently using it for train stamp / stamp collecting and travel documentations. I also have my own #ABCDailyJournal by my friend Abbey Sy. It’s my creative / “art” journal.
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3. Why do you journal?
I journal to unwind and dream at the same time. I’m a big dreamer and I strongly believe that journaling / listing down your dreams and actions plans are important to keep track of your progress to realize your goals. I journal because I want to surprise myself in the future that even with all the good and bad days combined from the past months / years, I still chose to enjoy and celebrate the big and little things in my life during those documented times.Read Why I Journal / Kawaii Journaling to know more about why Kayla decided to start journaling.
4. Why did you decide to open your website, your shop and your YouTube channel?
I (re)opened my blog when I finally moved to Japan 5 years ago. I just wanted to share my daily life, the kawaii culture that I like, solo travels and other creative adventures. I also had another blog prior to this one. ^^

I’m continuing my blog because it has a purpose. I want to somehow enlighten others on how they can also achieve their dreams by working hard and creating your own luck. I’m aiming for this blog to become a source of motivation for others (the target market person is similar to a younger version of Kaila who used to feel disheartened about many things). I decided to open my shop because I also want to share the materials / things that I’m using for my crafts. I also aspire to create and manage my own business full-time in the Philippines someday.. and that’s why I’m starting with an online store for now. I really have big dreams for my Rainbowholic business. ^^I’ve been on YouTube for many years (hardly updated haha) but it’s only been just a few months ago when I really devoted time to document my hobonichi sessions. I really enjoy creating and learning at the same time. I never actually thought that people would watch my videos but after receiving positive feedback so far.. I got more inspired to create more.

To learn more about why Kayla blogs go  to Why I Blog and go to How Blogging Has Helped Me Achieve My Dreams to learn more about Kayla’s journey.

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5. What drives you to continue working on your channel and your website?
I just really want to fill up my days working on something that I’m passionate about (crafting / journaling / documenting / etc.). Whether people would appreciate it or not (thumbs up or down), it does not matter to me because I’m already happy with the fact that I’ve done something that might help me in the future. For me, this is my way of practicing self-discipline too. ^^Of course, whenever I get positive and encouraging comments, I’d feel more motivated. I also consider my subscribers’ suggestions on how I can improve my content and such.


6. What is your dream and what would you say to people who are working to achieve their own dreams?
I have a lot of dreams but my ultimate dream would be to become a full-time content creator + businesswoman combined. Right now, I am still employed at my brother’s company here in Japan (still very thankful, of course). In the future, I want to build my own company both based in Japan and the Philippines. These two countries are both my homes and I’d like to fly back and forth (more freely) in the future.

To people like me who are also working to achieve their own dreams, let’s do our best effort (come what may)!! We may get discouraged or feel a little lost along the way (important life knowledge / experience masked as failures) but with eyes on the goal and a brave heart, anything is possible! Believe in the great things that we all know that we deserve. ^^

See this Related video for more of Kayla and his Rainbowholic dream

7. What are your favorite stationery shops?
My favorite stationery shops are LoFT and Tokyu Hands.8. Who are your favorite journalers, entrepreneurs or people that you look up to?

I look up to Abbey (www.abbey-sy.com), Chichi (www.hello.chi-chi.me), Ashley (www.ashleydy.com), Reese (www.reeselansangan.com), and Allie (www.thefoureyedwonder.com). They are all amazing and super creative people and I’m proud to call them as my friends. They are just some of the many people who I look up to.
^^

9. How did you learn to journal the way you do, and what keeps you inspired?
I learned how to journal the way I do by doing it every day and sticking with the habit. I love expressing myself, my thoughts, my beliefs, and everything through a cute / kawaii way. I keep myself inspired by staying offline, reading creative books and blogs, looking through many photos, going out & taking a walk, exercising, traveling, and the like.

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10. Tell us about 2017, what are the next steps and how do your journals help you get there?
I think that 2017 will be still a continuation of everything that I started and launched this year (2016). I just want to continue and experiment with my blog, shop, and youtube channel. Definitely, my journals will help me a LOT to keep track of my progress and they will always serve as a reminder for me to stay grounded and to remember my roots and humble beginnings. My dreams may become bigger and bigger as I grow older and unlock goals but my child-at-heart nature and love for kawaii & stationery will forever stay.

Edited by author Sept, 2017: For 2018 Kayla has featured a video on her YouTube channel where she shares with us her new cover for the coming year (The hydrangea cover) in a new unboxing video. Go check it out! She has also started doing stationery tours in Japan which I plan on doing one day when I save enough for only a trip to Japan. If you are interested in her blog, below are her links. It is a true joy to watch her working on her hobonichi, read her blog and follow her on social media as she comes up with new fun hobonichi and stationery related projects.

Did you like learning about Kyla and her #Rainbowholic dream, find her on the following social media channels:

Instagram: @rainbowholic
Snapchat: rainbowholic.me

Twitter: @kailaroo

 

Want to get to know Kayla, go to Getting to know me and learn more. Of course, follow her and share it!

Thanks for reading Kayla’s story on my blog,

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Kayla Ocampo, Rainbowholic – Kawaii lifestyle blogger and creator – writer of her own story!

Thank you, Kayla, for inspiring us all!

Copy Right: All images here used were authorized by Kayla Ocampo and taken from the.rainbowholic.me. All rights reserved. 

Four differences, one hobonichi

If you are new to hobonichi and want to get a book for 2017 but you are not sure which size is the best for you to buy, keep on reading. Here, you will find a brief explanation of the three different hobonichi sizes and their main differences. Hopefully, this post will be useful to you!

Hobonichi techo is a Japanese book that translated means “life book”. It is made in Japan and one of its main characteristics is that tomoe river paper. This paper is special because it is very thin, yet resistant and strong in a way that can even be used with fountain pens and water colors. When wet, it will wrinkle but there won’t be transfer to the other side of the page. It is a fantastic paper, and if you are a stationery enthusiast like I am, you will love this paper because it is smooth, yet thin and mighty.

The hobonichi techo comes in three different sizes and four kinds of books

  • A6 (4.1”x 5.8”x 0.6”) known as Hobonichi Techo original; Weight: 210g this book comes in Japanese and English
  • A5, also known as Hobonichi cousin only comes in Japanese (148 × 210 mm)
  • A weeks hobonichi book, Wallet-Size (3.75”x 7.4”x 0.4”); Weight: 135g
  • Hobonichi cousin avec, equivalent to A5 (148 × 210 mm), these are two books each one carrying six months which means it is a lighter version than the cousin

All of them have the same following characteristics:

  • Tomoe river paper
  • all of them lay flat, except the weeks book which needs a little bit of training
  • All of them lay flat, 180 degrees binding
  • Quotes on each page
  • January start or April
  • Tons of covers to choose from, and all of them can have a cover on cover

The main differences between the four books are:

  • Hobonichi techo A6
    – Has monthly, yearly and daily, and a few blank pages to plan, but this book
    doesn’t have a weekly       overview
  • A5 cousin 
    – Has yearly, monthly, weekly and daily pages in addition to blank pages for notes in
    the back
  • Weeks hobonichi
    – It only has monthly and a week on one-page overview, the beauty of this book is that it has over 30 blank pages to take notes on and it is narrow and taller than all the other books. It fits a traveler’s notebook cover.
  • Avec cousin hobonichi
    This book only comes in A5 size like the cousin, the different is that it comes in a pair and each book has only six months each, one from January to June, the other from July to December. It has a yearly, monthly and weekly view of the days.

Personally, I love all of the books and each can be destined for different uses depending on your planning system and lifestyle, it also depends on whether you want to carry the planner with you every day or if it will stay at your workplace or at home. All of them except the cousin are very easy to carry. The cousin can be a bit heavy because of its size, none the less, I still plan to take it with me sometimes.

Here you go, I hope this has been helpful and please don’t forget to check out the hobonichi site for more info on sizes and differences if you’re still undecided.

Happy plans!

Em Jorden

Maximize your time, use it wisely

It is no secret that I use several planners at the same time. Why you may ask!? For me, it works! Using several planners allows me to sort of “divide” my life into the different realms that I need to differentiate to be most effective. I am a working mom that also handles a lot of things at home, for instance, our bills, financial matters, shopping lists, doctors/vets appointments and so on. Having one single planner for everything just doesn’t do the trick, hence, the various planners that I have.

One of these planners is my passion planner, which is a simple but very effective bound planner that I use for all things related to my family, my personal time management and it helps me have an overview of how we spend our time, our days and what needs to get done. Th reason why I love my passion planner is because not only does it help you have a road map if you entire year but also, by organizing each day and having a visual overview of how you spend each day, you are able to manage your time better. The layout of this planner is simple, and it also has space for being creative and decorate it if you want to. Each day in this planner is divided into time slots, with room for goals, focus, personal lists, work lists, and a reflection are of positive things that happened in the past.

When I started using this planner I realized how helpful it was because it actually lets you see what you do with your days. By coloring or marking your tasks and placing them where they belong – assigned to a particular time during your day – you are able to see, for example that from 1 PM to 3 PM you spent your time cleaning – or doing nothing – or that between 8am and 6pm all you did was just work and in between you squeeze in some time to read. Or actually, see when you can squeeze in some time to read when you are at the office.

This planner gives you space to see what tasks you need to do for work and for your personal life, for me, even though I use one planner for work – my hobonichi techo – and one planner for all things home and persona, it still helps me see what’s what I need to do that week specifically for work (whether it will be a regular work week or whether I need to go somewhere other than the office).

By having a visual division of your days you can easily see where your time goes, whether you spent too much time watching TV or where you actually should have been at the gym instead of laying on the couch.

Obviously, you don’t have to use a Passion planner but I am using this example to illustrate how, by using your planner, you can have a better idea of how you spend your days and actually your life and whether you need to adjust that if you are working toward a goal. Also, there are various tools that can help you visualize what you do with your time, one of these ways is using a spiraldez or chronodex insert.

The chronodex y a great tool designed by Patrick Ng and adjusted by Kent from Oz  this great tool will also help you see how you manage your time, what you do during the day what you need to adjust if you want to become more productive and achieve those goals that have been on your planner. The chronodex y actually very easy to use once you get the hand of it and here Patrick Ng explains all about it. You can also look for videos on You Tube where various amazing planner ladies-men teach you how to best use this great tool.

Here you have it, a few thoughts on how to use visual tools and planner layouts to best know how you spend your time and make adjustments so you can be your most productive self.

Let me know your thoughts in the comments box if you have ever used any of these tools or also let me know what tools you use to be productive and get things done.

Have a great week!

Em Jorden

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Make your own Traveler’s Notebooks, three ideas

I am not exactly the most crafty person, I do make some inserts myself and I try to come up with ideas but I am not very handy or crafty when it comes to  making big projects. I admire people who do and I so wished I was the creative kind. This is also why sometimes I also force myself to make things because I believe that it will stimulate my creativity, the one that once upon a time was very active.

This said before I bought the traveler’s notebook that I have right now by Webster’s Pages I thought of making my own cover. I gave up! I still watched many videos about how to make my own and about how to make a cover without all the craftiness. While searching I actually found a few ideas that I am sure will help you create your own fauxdori if you are interested. Even if you don’t want to spend money on a cover – which I understand – I encourage you to watch these videos and try to make your own. These ideas go from very simple, for example, I love the idea by Journalingmylife in Youtube where she made a fauxdori out of a Filofax flex! Her set up is brilliant and I enjoy her videos a lot. Also, she is based in India and I just think it is great to have a fellow stationery lover from across the oceans! Check out her videos and enjoy them, she has some amazing ideas for different set ups!  You will fine her under her handle journalingmylife  and her video is here .

Last year, I remember what came super popular was buying a passport cover by Kate spade and turning it into a fauxdori which I thought was brilliant too. Ms. Wendaful has a great video where she shows her “Katedori” and I find it so fun to watch. You will find the video here  and of course, don’t forget to check out her blog where you will find some beautiful inserts and more ideas.

Last, we have the highest level of being crafty which to me is this video made by  Craft Made Simple where she teaches us how to make a fauxdori cover with fabric which I love love love. You will find the video here . This fauxdori cover that she shows is so pretty and I love it! If you have the tools and the energy to create one fauxdori from scratch, check out her video! It’s so neat!

And these are all the ideas I have for a traveler’s notebook without being super crafty – like myself – so check them out and let me know what you think!

I am really loving this traveler’s notebook fever and I hope you will enjoy it as much as I am!

Thank you for reading! Happy end of the week.

Em J

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Be happier: This is how your Filofax can help!

hap·pi·ness
ˈhapēnəs/
noun
  1. the state of being happy, it also means pleasure, contentment, satisfaction, cheerfulness, merriment, gaiety, joy,joyfulness, joviality, jollity, glee, delight, good spirits, lightheartedness,well-being, enjoyment – basically, anything that makes you smile, according to the google definition.

In the Buddhist tradition happiness is the ultima goal, and it is also the ONLY thing that all of us, human and non-human seek for. Happiness is everything we all want, and why wouldn’t we? But happiness doesn’t come just like that, or does it? Many of us can attain contentment through simple things like shopping, food, watching a movie, doing something fun but this will only be temporary happiness, right? Ultimate happiness is ever lasting, or at least something that lasts a little more than a few minutes or days. Most of us at some point, stop wishing to last long and conform with only enjoying it for however long it is.

If you are like me, who has a full-time job and also has to comply with many obligations at home, as well as on the side things, there is a point where you feel out of balance. Like life is sucking you in and you don’t even know what is happening. This is where a planner comes into place. That little thing made out of paper and bound together so that we can get a hold of our days and nights. A planner is important not just because it gives you an excuse to sit down for a few minutes and reflect on your day, but because it also helps you organize yourself, manage your time, know where your time is going and have a sense of what you are doing with your life.

Don’t under-estimate the power of a planner, be it Filofax, Inkwell,Erin Condren, Hobonichi or a Midori  all of them, are great tools to help you manage your time so that you will have enough time to do the things you enjoy. The way to start using your planner as a tool to enhance your life – instead of overwhelming you – is by writing down your appointments and having an idea of what are the things that you can’t move because they depend also on others, then write down the special events that you have, go ahead and write down the things you have to do like going to work or meetings that you have and then scheduling the emergent tasks wherever you have a window of time and then check for the number of hours that a project or a task that you are working on will take, that will probably leave you with the number of hours available for you to do the things you enjoy and if not, you will also have a sense of the time that you DON’T have to do things that you enjoy and you can change that by moving things around so that you have time for those things.

The idea of using a planner is to write down things, and to give you a visual idea of how you spend your day, how much time certain tasks will take you and what you can do to make time to go to the gym, cook nice food, spend time with your family or simply spend an hour or so doing something that you truly want to do. This is also a great way to see what your habits are and how you end up spending your evenings or mornings and how you can change that to re-program your life so you acquire healthier habits like going to the gym, cooking at home or meditating.

There are all kinds of inserts on Etsy, Pinterest and various sites like Philofaxy  or other fellow bloggers where you can find pages that will help you take life over control, at least partly and the things that can be controlled. Also, there is a great tool that I love which is called Chronodex that was created by Patrick Ng where you can actually color different areas of the Chronodex shape to administer your time visually and get a better idea of what you do with your days. This tool is so easy to use and will help you change your habits as well or know what changes in your life you need o make to have a more fulfilling and happier life.

Ultimately, we all come here to be happy and if we let life to suck us in, we will never get to that point where our lives will be more balanced and our minds and hearts filled with joy rather than stress.

Use your planner to change your habits and the way you spend your time, you will notice that it is very easy to make adjustments and achieve your goals easier. Be happy and try! It will be easy to get things done.

Let me know if it works and what you think about these ideas.

Thank you for reading and until next time,

Em Jorden

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Living a happier life: Discbound notebook

It is well known that there are many benefits to writing things down, be it your thoughts, your feelings or your errands. Writing things down helps you organize your thoughts, reflect and put things in perspective.

Today, we all are bombarded with information and we are constantly plugged to our electronic devices, often we don’t really take a moment to sit down and reflect on what we are doing with our lives or even what we are experiencing or feeling. Especially when we face challenges or difficulties with our lives.

For me, life is particularly hectic, busy and sometimes crazy. I do community work as a profession, I am involved in social justice things and my partner is also involved in this kind of work. Since I became a mom I felt the need to have a creative outlet since I have always leaned toward doing some kind of crafts, planning and writing. I can’t draw or paint but I have always been a planner and have always used pen and paper to write my thoughts, since I can remember. I have always had notebooks and have been constantly obsessed with managing my time, creating my own day layouts and also plan.

Lately I thought, I have been using my planners to manage my time, organize my and my family’s life and just to strive and try my best to be an organized working mom but I have not been writing as much. I do have a journal and sometimes I use it as a scrapbooking thing, but I felt that I didn’t get myself to sit down and use it. It has been more of a task that I force myself to do mostly because I don’t want to waste the notebook.

I recently wated Alexis Giostra where she talked about one of her notebooks that is actually a disc-bound notebook. She showed it a long time ago and I went to look for it but this particular line wasn’t produced anymore. Recently, I heard that Martha Stewart had come out again with her disc bound system that is sold at staples and decided to see if was available at my local staples. Well, guess what? I found it! I bought it not really knowing what I would do with it but when I came home I decided that I didn’t want to use it as another planner so I turned it into a notebook. I call it my “freedom notebook”.

The freedom notebook is a compilation of several sections that I customized, decorated a little bit and added to the notebook after buying some extra paper and some divider tabs. All of these things are from Martha Stewart just because I thought it looks nice and it is very inexpensive. This notebook has the following sections:

  1. Dreams – To jot down thoughts on a life that I desire to create
  2. Stories – Because once upon a time I wanted to be a writer
  3. Prayers – Because I want to go back to my buddhist studies and want to keep things that are relevant or important to me in here
  4. Travel – Because I want to stay inspired to continue traveling and seek for new places to go with my family
  5. Wisdom – Just to write down thoughts and conclusion on my own findings about the new direction I want to take with my professional life

Since I came up with this “freedom notebook” I feel much more inspired and eager to write. It helps me process my thoughts, ideas and also helps me articulate the things that I don’t say to anyone but that are in my head often.

There are many benefits to having a notebook like this. The disc-bound system is particularly great to use because it is the best of both worlds, you have the capacity to customize your notebook like with a ring binder but you also have the capacity to carry it as a notebook, similar to a spiral bound notebook except you are not constrained to using it as is for the whole time. You can add pages to it, inserts, cards, notes and so on. I love it and I recommend you creating your own notebook so you can have a more fulfilling and reflective life where you will find and create your own happiness.

This is how my “Freedom notebook” looks like:

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Let me know if you have a similar notebook like this and how you use it. Also, I have a traveler’s notebook that I bought with the idea of using it similarly but for some reason it is not working for me, so I carry my traveler’s notebook for planning and projects and other things.

I am surprised and amazed of how much I actually love this system! I am even thinking that it can totally work as a future planner or bullet journal but we shall see about that, for now, I am super happy with this notebook and it has added value to my life! I feel more inspired and eager to sit down and write. It definitely is doing the trick for me!

Thanks for reading planner friends,

Em