Quo Vadis Miniweek with Blue Texas Cover

24 02 2014

I’ve heard good things about Quo Vadis planners, so when I saw one last Miniweek on sale at my local pen store, I jumped on it (even though they were all out of covers). I tweeted of my bountiful gain but lack of cover, as I proceeded to affix some soft polyurethane-type material to my Miniweek with tacky glue to serve as a DIY cover. Then, lo and behold, Quo Vadis tweeted at me to say they had an extra Miniweek cover that they would give me! Some tedious craft-glue-undoing later, a joyous little planner for 2014 was assembled. Thanks to Quo Vadis for the cover (and thanks to Office Supplies and More for having had the planner on sale).

Coin for reference. For some reason, 1 euro cent was the first coin I was able to find. If you've never seen a euro cent in person before, they are adorably tiny

Coin for reference. For some reason, 1 euro cent was the first coin I was able to find. If you’ve never seen a euro cent in person before, they are adorably tiny

The Miniweek is small and simple; the Texas cover serving as something to protect the little refill from the world. It’s a smooth polyurethane-like cover made with no PVC. There’s no branding, just the darker recessed accent mark and raised decorative “stitching” around the edges. It feels smooth to the touch—the kind of notebook you want to rub on your face. Time will tell if the cover will hold up over the course of multiple refill years.

Tiny calendars so I can see how far into the future that I STILL won't have certain choice holidays off.

Tiny calendars so I can see how far into the future that I STILL won’t have certain choice holidays off.

Being so slim, there isn’t much extra to the Miniweek. There’s two pages for personal information, little 2014 and 2015 calendars, address pages, and note pages, in addition to the main meat of the planner itself.

Work schedule, running schedule, blog schedule

Work schedule, running schedule, blog schedule. And oatmeal cookies

I like that each day gets an equal amount of space. Usually planners end up short-changing the weekend on page real estate, but as someone with an unusual work schedule I appreciate having equal space to plan out my days. And they even fit in a little space for notes!

(Ignore the part where I smudged the first Pelikan M150 sample, that was almost out of ink and other such excuses) LOOK AT THAT CRISP LINE AND SHADING ON "KR3"...so beautiful...

(Ignore the part where I smudged the first Pelikan M150 sample, that was almost out of ink and other such excuses) LOOK AT THAT CRISP LINE AND SHADING ON “KR3″…so beautiful…

But the best part about the Miniweek is this magical paper. It’s of an almost tissue-like thinness typically reserved for holy books, and typically not associated with the kind of paper you’d want to put a fountain pen to. But oh, how wrong you’d be. This paper holds fountain pen ink beautifully. No fuzz, no feathers, just clean, crisp lines. With such thin paper, showthrough is inevitable, but none of the fountain pens bled through (the Parker and Sheaffer rollerbals are another story). And the dry times were surprising—Diamine Ancient Copper in a Pilot Vanishing Point M nib drying within ten seconds. This is a planner made for fountain pens.

Sorry hip art deer, but I'd like you better if you were actually some kind of silk ribbon attached to the planner.

Sorry hip art deer, but I’d like you better if you were actually some kind of silk ribbon attached to the planner.

My only complaint is the lack of a bookmark. The pages are too thin to use a paper clip, so I picked up some trendy page flags to keep track of my place in the year. Something built-in would have been nice.

Also maybe something to keep it better closed would be nice? But eh, slip it in a pocket and what difference does it make

Also maybe something to keep it better closed would be nice? But eh, slip it in a pocket and what difference does it make

Overall the Miniweek hits a lot of points that I’m looking for in a planner. It’s small, with a nice layout, and most importantly, fountain pen friendly paper.

Quo Vadis Miniweek Planner at Quo Vadis





Daycraft Signature Chromatic Diary 2013

9 02 2014

I know, I know. It’s 2014 now. This is a 2013 diary. Luckily, Daycraft sells a 2014 edition of this diary. I was just super slow to review this one. Sorry. And thanks to Daycraft for providing this sample.

I'm not sure this blue is exactly accurate...it's more of a pantone blue perhaps, or a web color medium blue.

I’m not sure this blue is exactly accurate…it’s more of a pantone blue perhaps, or a web color medium blue. This picture seems a bit light. Maybe it’s my monitor. MAYBE IT’S YOUR MONITOR

I am not normally one to use the term “fun colors,” but that’s the only way to describe the color options for the Chromatic. You’ve got an irresistably soft-to-the-touch brightly colored polyurethane cover typical of most Daycraft notebooks, with adjacent-color accent pages inside the cover (purple for the blue, blue for the green, green for the yellow, yellow for the orange, orange for the red) and matching ribbon bookmark. And the edges on the pages! Not just a rainbow, but a thing of beauty. The cover is simple, but that bright striped rainbow is like an intricate, colorful tattoo peeking out from under the suited sleeve of a businessperson—something wild and exciting, just below the surface.

Note to self: when combining multiple images on a laptop, save often. Very often. The laptop does not have the same processing power as the desktop.

Note to self: when combining multiple images on a laptop, save often. Very often. The laptop does not have the same processing power as the desktop. You WILL regret having to make this image twice

Being slimmer than, say, the Signature Diary, comes at a cost. Here, part of that means less extras, though they’ve kept the international guides and gift ideas, and still have such useful sections as notes and income/expenses pages.

Look, it's my work schedule! From a year ago.

Look, it’s my work schedule! From a year ago.

You’ve got tiny calendars, next-year-planning calendars, and then the goods: week to view, with monthly overviews interspersed throughout at the appropriate intervals. The two page monthly overview is my favorite—easy for me to plan out my working schedule, note any overtime, and write out little notes for the month in the space to the side. Plus, tiny overview calendars for next month on that same spread!

This would probably be very great if I wrote vertically

This would probably be very great for someone else. Or someone who likes writing with 0.18mm gel pens.

This is the other major cost of a slim calendar (and to some extent, week to view in general): hardly any room to write. It’s doable, but microtip pens and writing small are a must. The vertically oriented days are visually appealing, but aren’t very practical, allowing only about 3 words per line. For this reason I ended up favoring the use of the Daycraft Executive Diary for my plans in 2013. But maybe this unusual format is just what you’ve been looking for. Maybe you like to write vertically. I don’t know. I don’t know you.

I would advise testing out your pens in this diary if you get it to see what works best for you

I would advise testing out your pens in this diary if you get it to see what works best for you

The paper does pretty well with most pens, except Pilot Varsity (a notorious pen), brush pens, and very ink-heavy pens like 1.0mm gel pens or broad nib fountain pens. Too much ink and you start to get bleedthrough. But I had no problems using an extra fine nib Lamy with Lamy blue ink. Depends on the pen, though as a general rule with such limited writing space I might would stick to microtip pens.

Taste the rainbow! No, wait, no don't eat---DON'T EAT THE DIARY PLANNER THING

Taste the rainbow! No, wait, no don’t eat—DON’T EAT THE DIARY PLANNER THING

There aren’t many of the smaller A6 Chromatics in stock, if any, at the time I’m writing this. But I wonder, the A5 might be worth a go. Bigger surely means more room to write, which would overcome my main complaint with the Chromatic. Keep your eyes on Daycraft, maybe the color you want will soon be back in stock.

Daycraft Signature Chromatic Diary 2014 available in 5 colors, A5 and A6 sizes, English and Chinese editions at Daycraft





Daycraft 2013 Executive Diary – Silver, Pocket, English Edition

27 12 2013

Based on the extras contained in this planner, it’s safe to say I am not fabulous enough or high-paid jetsetting business executive enough for this thing. My planner is cooler than I am. It’s ok. I accept this truth, much as I accepted this free sample from Daycraft many months ago. Of the planners I received, this one has emerged as my favorite. Many thanks to Daycraft for this sample.

Forgive me if the pictures are all out of whack. I've gotten a Chromebook and I'm trying to see if I can edit the pictures on it. If I can get this working, it portends well for more frequent updates!

Forgive me if the pictures are all out of whack. I’ve gotten a Chromebook and I’m trying to see if I can edit the pictures on it. If I can get this working, it portends well for more frequent updates!

The cover is slightly different from the Daycraft Signature standard—rather than soft, this cover is smooth, textured like some kind of metallic silver skin. That’s it, it’s obviously robot skin. Robot leather? Allegedly it’s fine Italian polyurethane, but it feels different. The cover is also, unlike the Signature Diary, a hardcover, with a neon pink elastic closure. The elastic band has held up well so far over these many months. The doorknob it loops over I go back and forth on—I like that it makes my planner look like a portal to some pocket-sized dimension; I’m annoyed at times that the little knob keeps the cover from sitting flat on the table.

You can even keep checks in the back, if you're the kind of person who still has checks and wants a stylish place to keep them.

You can even keep checks in the back, if you’re the kind of person who still has checks and wants a stylish place to keep them.

Comes with a matching silver ribbon bookmark, a spacious back pocket big enough to perfectly fit spare checks and other odds & ends, and four pages divided into three sections each of little perforated blank notes. You can give someone a note without having to rip any paper out, and you get 10 lined pages titled “NOTES” for your own use.

It takes special talent to edit all of these pictures such that the cream colored pages are a different cream color in every picture. Maybe one of them is sort of close enough to right.

It takes special talent to edit all of these pictures such that the cream colored pages are a different cream color in every picture. Maybe one of them is sort of close enough to right.

For such a convenient size, this planner is chock-full of non-calendar bonus features. They’ve included all the extras I loved in the Signature Diary (such as the traveler’s cheat sheet of international guides with things like emergency phone numbers and what side of the road is driven on for 28 major countries), plus even more with an eye toward the world-travelling businessperson. You’ve got lists of international holidays, world time zones, international direct dialing codes, websites of governments, information on various Asian golf courses, measurement and size conversion tables, nutritional information, gift ideas, signs of the Zodiac, places to write out special dates for each month, venue lists (to keep track of the companies, shops, clinics, dentists, beauty salons, beauticians, hair salons, and hair stylists in your life), and contacts.  And then there’s my favorite, the Vintage Chart: a two-page crash course in wine snobbery. For example, I would avoid the ’93 Northern Rhone, but the 2003 was an exceptional vintage. See? You too can sound almost passably knowledgeable.

My busy busy life...well, it looks more busy in the year planner overview....and hopefully this time around this picture doesn't look so gosh-darned yellow...

My busy busy life…well, it looks more busy in the year planner overview….and hopefully this time around this picture doesn’t look so gosh-darned yellow…

The main body of the Executive Diary consists of week-to-view calendars. Each day has room for some general task planning, and each month has an overview page with a quote, a small month calendar, and some lines to plot out whatever major things you have in  that month. There’s also year planner pages toward the front, and forward planner pages for 2014 toward the back. And some uselessly tiny calendars in the very front.

I'm not sure if I made this image color better, or just more differently wrong. Oh well.

I’m not sure if I made this image color better, or just more differently wrong. Oh well.

The paper isn’t winning any awards. The main problem seems to be feathering wherever most liquid inks are involved, with bleedthrough on the heavier inks and showthrough on everything that’s darker than orange. Normally, I argue that a notebook is nothing without its paper, but when it comes to planners there’s a higher calling of form and function involved. The primary purpose of a planner isn’t the writing, it’s the planning. If the format is good, this alone will trump mediocre paper. This is why I will use a tiny week-to-view Moleskine (yes, Moleskine! Of all crappy paper things!) to keep track of my hours worked. I have literally hundreds of pens. It doesn’t kill me to set my fountain pens and liquid inks aside, and pick up one of my numerous gel pens, pencils, or ballpoints to use in this notebook (my favorite to use: retractable Pilot FriXion ball pens).

Stylish, sleek, and it's held up beautifully to a solid year of abuse and being casually thrown in all kinds of bags

Stylish, sleek, and it’s held up beautifully to a solid year of abuse and being casually thrown in all kinds of bags

It’s slim, it’s tall, it’s smooth. Big enough to be useful, small enough to be convenient, durable enough to survive all year still looking sharp. I’m not even close to being an executive, but I can still appreciate the 2013 Executive Diary by Daycraft.

Daycraft Executive Diary – Pocket Size English Edition available in 7 Colors for 2014 at Daycraft





Daycraft 2013 Animaland Diary – Baboon – Overview and GIVEAWAY!

7 01 2013
Reminds me a bit of the Regular Show

Reminds me a bit of the Regular Show

It’s 2013, and MAYBE YOU DON’T HAVE A PLANNER? Or maybe, in the stupor of a New Year’s hangover, you stumbled into some cut-rate box giant and picked out some unspeakably atrocious calendar to drag through the next year. Or maybe you have an incurable addiction to calendars and day planners. Whatever your deal, perhaps I have a giveaway for you.

Unless you hate pink. In which case, WOW, you are looking at the wrong giveaway.

Unless you hate pink. In which case, WOW, you are looking at the wrong giveaway.

You remember Daycraft? And their super cool planners? Well, some time last year they sent me a box of 3 spankin’ new 2013 selections. Even I cannot use that many calendar-planners, so I figured I’d share some of the love.

I'm even going to let you have the stickers

I’m even going to let you have the stickers

A quick run-down on the specs of this diary/planner/notebook/bound configuration of paper:

  • Pink / Baboon
  • Laminated pearl paper cover
  • width 106mm x height 150mm
  • 216 pages of 60 gsm paper
  • Week-to-view
  • International holidays
  • Nutrition labeling information
  • Gift ideas
  • Year planner
  • 71-week planner (WHOOPS I did not pay attention to the fact that this planner started in August 2012…I’m a little late on this giveaway, sorry. The thing was just so thin I figured there couldn’t be that many extra weeks in it. Goes to January 5th of 2014)

The paper is the same thin sort as I reviewed in my 2012 Signature Diary, so I imagine it’ll take various inks as well as that did.

I hope you like cute illustrations

I hope you like cute illustrations

Each month in 2013 starts with a little illustration and a month overview with room for notes.

No page without cuteness

No page without cuteness; see the little sheep at the bottom?

And here’s the layout for each week. There’s also a set of 4 perforated sheets in the back, each sheet divided into 3 sections, so if you need to tear off a piece of paper to give to someone, it will be an adorable piece of paper.

Now, if you’re interested in this little planner to make your year better, read on.

******************************

THE GIVEAWAY RULES!

******************************

  1. To enter, just leave one comment on this post any time between now and Sunday, January 20th 11:59 PM Eastern Standard Time. Since I’m feeling crazy and like I don’t give enough of my money to the postal service, let’s have this contest open WORLD WIDE. The only people who can’t enter are people on space stations, the moon, and those otherwise residing extraterrestrially.
  2. One winner will be picked at random from the comments section of this post. Make any kind of comment—but only one comment! Comments in excess of one shall be deleted. The comments will be numbered in the order they are received, i.e. the first comment is #1, the second #2, and so on. Because my blog doesn’t seem to number the comments on its own yet, and I STILL don’t will probably never have time/the willpower to fix it, I will again hand-number all the entries in Photoshop like I did here. The Random Integer Generator at random.org will be used to pick the number of the winner.
  3. I’ll post the contest winner on Monday, January 21st. Winner will have one week to email me. There’s a link to my email at the top of the right sidebar.

And if you can’t wait to see if you won, here’s the link to the diary—just remember that price is in Hong Kong dollars. Good luck, and thanks to Daycraft for providing this sample!








Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 216 other followers