Dividers and my Endeavor for Simplicity

Happy Friday!

I’ve been making my own dividers since my Tecnic.  I use packing tape to “laminate” old cards and other sentimental things that would otherwise end up in a drawer.  Unfortunately, I have to replace them fairly often (every few months) because they get ratty so quickly.

Here are the dividers I’ve used most recently that are still in fairly good shape.  Most of them are photocopied from SoulPancake, one is a map of my school’s main campus, and one is photocopied from a lovely graphic novel called Blankets that was given to me as a gift.



One of the most frustrating things is not having decent tabs.  This one is still in good shape, but these plastic ones tend to crack and split after a while.


I just added these Midori brass clips to my wish list.  (Image from Present&Correct)

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Since I’m striving for a theme of simplicity and functionality, I pulled out my old Filofax branded dividers.  I saved them because I love the colours, but I always wanted something with more personality until now.

And now I’ve made them immortal!


My school has a giant laminator in the Education Building!




I may add some stickers later.

I reorganized my sections earlier this week, but I’m using a lot of pencil because I’m anticipating making more changes once I receive the downloadable PDFs from the Bullet Journal kickstarter.  I’m way too excited and impatient.



Layouts and my Upcoming Conundrum

Happy Canadian Thanksgiving!

As an American, it seems strange to be saying that in October.

I’ve been bullet journaling for a couple of weeks now and I’m just starting to settle into the new system.  Overall, it’s much easier and less time consuming than my old system, but I’m still fighting the part of myself that places aesthetics over function (as you will notice from all the whiteout).

I’ve decided to go ahead and share my layout since it will probably never stop evolving anyway.  I’ve adapted my old setup so it doesn’t exactly match the classic bullet journal setup.


  1. Notes/In
  2. Journal
  3. Collections
  4. Reference

In the front of my journal, I have sudoku puzzles for my daily transit rides.  My mom bought be a few sudoku books for Xmas one year which happen to be the perfect size.


My first real section is my “notes/in”.  I’m trying to remember where I got the idea originally, and I think it might have been from this 2011 post by Philofaxy’s Steve Morton.  He describes it as, “the quickest way for me to gather information for processing and then writing it neatly in to the main body of the organiser later on,” which is exactly how I use it.

My original notebook was basically just the notes/in section.  I like to think of it as my brain dump all in one place.


I use this instead of Bullet Journal’s solid dot bullet notes (•) under each day’s entry.  I like the idea of keeping everything in the journal section, but a lot of my little thoughts and notes seem to fall through the cracks that way.

I don’t put anything that is terribly urgent here so I don’t have to review this section every day.  A few times a week, I’ll go through and take a look.  The items will sometimes get turned into to-dos and sometimes will go into a collection.  Once I decide that I have dealt with the note, either having organized it appropriately or deemed it not useful, I scratch it out.

Note: I don’t bother to keep these old pages.  They are usually very messy because I often need to write something in a hurry.  I like the feeling that I’m somehow “cleaning” the page as I scratch it out.  Once a page is nothing but scribbles (very satisfying), I remove and recycle it.


Next section, the journal!


I start with the monthly spread.  I like to use red to show important assignment due dates.  As you can see, I thought the letter for the day of the week was unnecessary but I changed my mind.


On the opposite page is my monthly task list.


Below you can see yesterday’s daily calendar.  I have to credit Josh Medeski for the hourglass signifier.

This illustrates my current problem.  My friend Hannah (insert shoutout here) and I agreed to chat on Thursday.


How will I remember that on Thursday? On Wednesday night, will I remember to flip back through my journal to see the note?  Should I copy “call Hannah on Thursday” to each daily entry until I get to Thursday?  That seems tedious and time consuming, not to mention a huge waste of space.

I can’t add it to my monthly spread because there simply is not enough room for all these kinds of little things.  I don’t want to add it to my monthly task list because that list will end up being extremely long and some of these notes are not actionable.

I even started an “upcoming” collection, but it seemed a bit redundant- like I have two monthly calendars.


So I took my quandry to Google+ to pick some brains and glean some wisdom.  I got many great ideas, but I’m not sure yet which will work best for me.  I love Alisha Corinne‘s suggestion to use separate calendar spreads.

I’m strongly considering adding another section for larger monthly calendars and doing away with the single page monthly spreads in the journal.  You can see below how I started to play with the layout.


My last two sections are pretty straight forward.  My “collections” section is the only one with an index and page numbers.

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My “reference” section doesn’t change much so most of the pages are printed.  I keep my term schedule here along with Google backup codes and some other things I need to look up occasionally.

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That’s about it.  Thanks for reading and any suggestions are appreciated (as always)!

Little Review on Pens in my Little Binder

Happy Thursday!  My dog says hi.

Chell 2014-10-03

I’m still bullet journaling in my Filofax, but I’ve run into some interesting issues that I haven’t solved yet.  I’m going to continue to work on some tweaks and I’ll probably post about it in a week or so.

This is my little Avery Dennison binder, a gift from my Mom last year.


You can tell the cover is super dingy.  While I am mindful to protect and care for my Holborn, this binder often ends up under the couch.  I would like to give it some structure; I currently use it as a miscellaneous scratchpad.  Suggestions are welcome and appreciated!

My mom also gave me these lovely plastic pockets, card holders, and inserts.


Without further ado, here are my most commonly used pens.  You’ll notice I only use black.  I’ve historically loved green pens, but I can’t stand blue (no clue why).

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Lastly, my pride and joy, my Slim Cross Click Rollerball.  It is, by far, the best pen I’ve ever owned.


I don’t have a writing sample because sadly I’ve run out of refills and I’ve been putting off buying more because they’re a bit pricey and I’m on a budget.

Thanks for reading!

Back to Basics

Happy Wednesday! I’m in a fantastic mood because I have my favorite study space on campus all to myself.


When I first started carrying a notebook, I didn’t have any kind of system. I’ve always liked lists so that’s how I recorded information: as bullet points.

My system has evolved substantially over the years. I have used the official Filofax diary refills (especially the week on two pages). I started making my own after a while to suit my needs. I worked on the layout below for months before I was happy with it. Aston nostalgia


Once I solidified my design, I started printing my own.


Around this time, I came to realize that I was using my journal less and less. I always used a weekly in addition to a monthly spread and my Google calendar. I really felt that I needed all 3, but it was becoming a chore. I cared more about the aesthetics than the function (not that anyone ever saw it but me).

I knew something needed to change when I found myself going days at a time without even pulling my planner out of my bag. Fortunately, I had a lovely the-teacher-will-appear moment a couple of weeks ago.

Cue heavenly music… ->>> ★  BulletJournaling  ★ <<<-

It’s beautiful. It’s easy, simple, and best of all versatile. It can be as minimal or complex as you wish. It can even change day-to-day. Some days will only call for simple check boxes; on others I will utilize multiple designating icons.

If you haven’t watched the video yet, voila:

There are more details and tips on the website, which will soon became a platform to serve as a community and library for tutorials and such thanks to the wildly successful Kickstarter.

Whelp, this post is long enough. I’m currently holding off on sharing my current layout because it’s still so new. Thanks for reading.

Next up: pens!

Review: Holborn Personal Zip- 4 Month Update

My first analog notebook was a little red Pentalic I could carry in my pocket. I picked it up cheap at a local bookstore because I was sick of being so forgetful.

I fell in love with the idea of a planner with binder rings after reading The Happiness Project in which Gretchen Rubin casually mentioned that she uses a Filofax. I didn’t know what that was, but after a quick google I was hooked. The planners themselves are beautiful, but the online community is astounding.

I had to have one.

I started with a black mini metropol which became my wallet (the only brand new planner I’ve ever owned). I later moved to a black personal Tecnic I bought on Ebay when I realized I needed more room (and resigned myself to carrying a purse). Poor thing, the ring mechanism broke off earlier this year. A mushroom Aston was my 3rd- it now lives with my Mom. I needed a planner that was a bit bolder, less bendy, MOAR POCKETS.

Enter my love- my personal wine Holborn zip.


I ❤ contrast stitching.

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Even the zipper pull is embossed (the creepy pewter hand was not included).


The nice little touches are a bonus.


It’s my wallet, my calendar, my journal, my catchall, my life.


And the pockets! The pockets!

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Yo dawg, I heard you like pockets…


The front pocket is extremely useful when I’m in a hurry for receipts and such. The only thing I permanently store in there is my crystal nail file.


I love that the pen loop is stretchy, but it still isn’t big enough to easily accommodate a Pilot G2 which is my go-to.

Oh and this is happening… I’ve had success in the past with a shoe repair shop when my Aston’s pen loop started to do this. I’m thinking of taking my Holborn back there, but I’m not prepared to part with it for a week.


Overall, I am extremely happy with it. It is flexible and durable in all the right places. I read a review on Plannerisms before I bought it which describes the feel of a Holborn as “buttery-soft”. Totally spot on. 4 months later I still can’t put it down.

Thanks for reading. Next up: storage, homemade dividers, and my current layout.

Hello, Internet

Welcome to my personal scratchpad.

I am a pescetarian expatriate communications undergraduate in British Columbia. I love analogue organizers and office supplies. I dislike the color purple, but apparently I love people that love purple.

Thinks I like to post about:

  • Moodling in my Filofax
  • Being an international student
  • Finding a life/work balance
  • Leveling up (diet, fitness, career, mentality)
  • My husband and our dogs

I have written 3 separate drafts of this first post so I’m just going to publish it already.  Jeez.