Wednesday, November 23, 2011


In consideration of my last post, about agendas/planners/organizers, I just received an e-mail that Filofax is having a sale today on a select group of planners and agendas.  Get 'em while they're hot!

Follow the link:

I hope if you were considering making a planner purchase, one of these little babies can help you out!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Filofax: Or, Why This is the Perfect Planner

 A picture of my Filofax Classic, on the right, from 2009.
A picture of my Filofax Classic, top center, from this year.

In my opinion, the Filofax is one of the best organizers/planners/agendas you can buy.  My sister relies on the Slimline; I prefer the Personal size.  They come in a huge range of pricepoints:  From $33 to $2,300 for lizard skin.  Their reasonably priced leather planners start at $69, for a fully outfitted planner, with all the bells and whistles.  Even more importantly, accessories, add-ons and additional refills of calendars, address pages and ruled pages are also reasonably priced.  A Filofax Personal calendar refill will set you back $10.50, whereas a Day-Timer Desk calendar refill can cost as much as $30.  While Filofax brand is hard to find in stationery stores on Staten Island (Spotlight Stationery on Hyatt Street used to carry them, but that's long since gone), stationery stores in Manhattan carry a range of Filofax refills.  The Filofax website frequently runs free shipping promos, and if you purchase from the website, you don't have to pay tax.

Filofax agendas are also very durable.  I've had my most recent one (pictured above) since 2007, and the one I had before that, I purchased in the late 1980's and it finally bit the dust this year.  It didn't even bite the dust because it fell apart ... it just looked very worn.  But it held up to years of wear extremely well.  It was a basic brown leather Filofax, and at the time of purchase, it cost me about $80.

The Personal size Filofax agenda can fit in a medium sized handbag, along with a wallet, Smartphone, iPod, various and sundry "personal" items and small Moleskine notebooks.  See second photo above - that's the stuff that fits in my medium sized handbag.

The Filofax is a ring-binder planner, meaning all the pages are hole-punched to accommodate a ring-binder.  You can buy a hole-punch for the size of your planner, in case you want to insert your own pages.

Filofax agendas come in several sizes:  Mini, Pocket, Personal, Slimline, Compact and A5 (the largest, suitable for a desk agenda).  Most sizes and models come in a variety of colors and pricepoints, from affordable and reasonable to outrageously expensive and exclusive.

The web address is:

Filofax is a British brand.

Another type of agenda/planner/organizer I sometimes use is the Day-Timer.  However, due to the expense of the calendar refills, and the large and cumbersome size of the planner (the Desk size) I own, I find myself using this infrequently, if at all.  However, the calendar pages that come with Day-Timer include some information that people will find useful, which aren't included with the Filofax, such as maps of time zones, hotel chain numbers, rent-a-car chain numbers, area code listings for cities in the United States, moon phases (handy for pagans and others of an astronomical bent), expense account pages (although Filofax has expense pages as well, they aren't set up in a such a way that they would be easy to use for business purposes), and also a neat-o shopping list for people with diabetes.  The Day-Timer planners come in a ring-binder format or spiral-bound notebook format that you can insert into a cover.  Accessories and add-ons are also available.

Day-Timer has such a multitude of choices, sizes, styles and pricepoints to choose from, that I'll just post their website here, and you can see for yourself the plethora of choice that awaits you.

Another brand that looks interesting is Moleskine, known for being the notebook of Picasso and Hemingway.  I like to use Moleskine notebooks for keeping a journal on the run, tracking my daily expenses, and when I don't have access to a computer, tracking my reading habits (when I don't have access to

However, they also have planners available in an 18-month academic calendar style, a daily planner, a weekly planner and a monthly planner.  I personally haven't used the Moleskine planner.  Checking their USA website, their 2012 daily planners run from $12.95 and up, which is pretty reasonable; however, they are small, not built to hold a lot of paper (which could be a good thing in that it would force you to clear out your planner once a week), and do not come with address books.  Address books are sold separately.  They are sturdy, but due to their construction (hard-backed or soft-back paper) they do not come with refills - you have to buy a new calendar each year.  Also, for someone like me, who uses address books, note pages, and a daily planner, this method would not work well, since it would require that I carry three separate books for each activity, which would be inconvenient, cumbersome and might lead to losing or misplacing something.

Of course, if you really want to go for something more expensive, and in a good quality leather, there are the Coach leather agendas, which come in sizes 6"x8" and 4"x7" with a pen loop.  The paper refills are moderately priced, and include a datebook and an address book.  Some models include space for notepaper.  This is for the minimalistic planner customer ... someone with a less-is-more philosophy.  Coach's new agendas have a very updated look, with the Op Art "C" logo, and a zip-around closure, to hold all your business cards, love letters and photos of celebrities you met in Saint Tropez.  They are priced at $148 for the 4x7 style and $198 for the 6x8 style.  It doesn't say on the website whether the daily planner and address book and pen are included, but I'm going to guess that they are not.  Also, they're not called "planners/agendas/organizers" - they are called "slip jackets."  I don't know why.

Here's the link love:

Update: Coach no longer carries their leather agendas on the website. They have to be ordered by phone (888-262-6224). However, the Coach website still carries the paper refills for their leather agendas. They no longer carry the slipcases; instead, they now have tech cases.  (Information current as of 2/5/2016.)

And that's the run-down!  I hope you can find a nice planner among these choices, or that it will at least get you thinking, because it is the time of year to start planning your calendar for next year.  I purchased my Filofax refill for next year already, and put it in my agenda.  I also purchased some pen refills for my Filofax pen.  I'm still debating whether I should use the Day-Timer Desk planner ... it seems like a good thing, but $30 is a lot for a planner refill, when I may not end up using it.  Suggestions, anyone?

This entry is dedicated to the MelMeister, who requested guidance and information in her search for a new planner.  Hope this helps Melissa and anyone who is in search of helpful information about agendas, planners, organizers, calendars, refills, planner accessories, add-ons and other related items.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Book Review: "Beauty: The New Basics" by Rona Berg

It took me awhile to read this book, not through any fault of the author.  It is a comprehensive book, covering every aspect of beauty and maintenance. At the end of each section, there's a Beauty Time Line for the area of the body covered in that segment.  It's separated into three sections:  The face, the hair and the body.  The section on the face includes an introduction to basic skincare including ingredients, FDA regulations and how to read labels; skincare, including exfoliation, cleansers, and moisturizers; facials; aging; skin problems; and makeup, including tools and accessories.  The section on the hair covers haircare, hair color and haircuts and styles.  The last section, The Body, covers bath and body, hands and feet, and the spa experience.

This book is packed full of information and it's presented in a down-to-earth, witty, conversational tone that readily engages the reader.  She covers every possible aspect of beauty care and maintenance, and in addition to giving product and brand recommendations, she gives recipes that you can create at home, for an at-home beauty treatment.  She tells you when it's best to spend money on a product, treatment or service, or when you can limit your spending.  She also tells you which products, treatments or services you can do on the cheap or at home, thus saving money.  She also covers cosmetic surgery.  She has a glossary, a list of appendices and an index at the end of the book.  In the appendix, she gives lists of resources for spas and salons in different cities in the U.S. and Canada as well as London and Paris.  She has a comprehensive bibliography for recommended reading.  And she has something that endears any author to me, a list of people she wanted to thank for their help, guidance and inspiration in producing the book.

Highly recommended reading.