CBTL The Giving Journal 2017

One of the things I look forward to in the holiday season is the “coffee planner” offers of various coffee shops. CBTL (Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf) is my preferred coffee shop and I really do like the look of their planners even if I don’t end up using them in its entirety. Last year, I attempted to use its weekly layout with notes page as a creative journal but to my sadness the paper couldn’t stand up to brush pens and fountain pens, and that killed the drive for me to use it. This year, I still got myself a CBTL Giving Journal anyway and I am planning to use it for some sort of journaling.

One of the things I like about this journal is that it only takes 12 stamps to¬†complete. It didn’t take me long to get this, and in fact I was already able to acquire this before December.

The journal, as always, comes with a cardboard sleeve with the name of the journal and the CBTL branding.

At the back is a nice big caption with space to put your recipient’s name if you are giving this as a gift.

I chose the purple journal, to match the one I got last year. It’s great that the icon embossed on the cover was a top view of a coffee cup, which I thought was appropriate given my coffee addiction. The cover has a nice smooth leatherette/suede feel to it, and it’s a delicious shade of purple. The journal also has two ribbon bookmarks built in.

The first page is the personal information sheet.

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The next few pages are a sort of introduction. I really like how the artwork is scattered all over the place, and the doodly style of it is really appealing.

The start of each month has a sort of cover page, with a two-page artwork with an inspiring quote. It’s really beautiful, and I think it can even be colored in if one wishes.

The spread after that is a monthly overview, with top 3 priorities, goals, learnings, featured here among other things. The opposite page gives us a bit of a peek into the activities that CBTL holds for their charity.

Next we have a two-page monthly spread that starts on a Monday. Each day has a nice amount of space for either appointments or artwork, depending on how you would like to use the journal. There’s also a smaller, fainter copy of the monthly artwork on the bottom of the left page.

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The weekly pages are structured in the same manner as last year’s. The notes pages alternate between blank and lined. The weekends are grouped onto one line, which may be a turn off for some.

The very end of the book has a few pages of lined pages for any additional notes.

The back cover has a gusseted kraft pocket that has a sheet of planner stickers which are always appreciated. What surprised me about this is the branding of the sticker as being made by Viviamo, which is the company that makes the Belle De Jour group of planners. I’m not sure if that means they made the entire planner, or only the sticker sheet.

Overall I am quite pleased about the entire Giving Journal, and I am really hoping I can do it more justice than last year’s.

Do you have a CBTL Giving Journal? What do you plan to use it for? I’d love to hear about your plans!

 

 

Hobonichi Weeks 2017 – Meow Meow Meow

A few weeks ago I wrote about having a planning dilemma of choosing between the Hobonichi Weeks and a pocket sized planner for my 2017 planning. I had been sorely tempted with a particular Weeks, the Meow Meow Meow, purely because it has cats. The more I read up about it and watched people’s Hobonichi unboxings, the more I became convinced that I had to have it. In addition I had moved back to the Weeks after a few weeks using a pocket planner, and found that I really liked the idea of having a single bound (but portable!) volume for the whole year.

When Crafty Lane opened another preorder batch, I finally decided to jump on it and order the Weeks. My package arrived about a couple of weeks ago, and I feel like I had made a good decision.

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Here is the Meow Meow Meow Weeks. It is undoubtedly pink, on the side of soft pink, with the cats embroidered on it. The cover feels very much like fabric, and compared to my 2016 Weeks it is a little bit more of a soft-cover book.

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Here is a close up of the cats. The fabric pattern is more apparent here. I really like the effect of the embroidery, and the cats are adorable. The fabric does feel like it would get dirty easily and show it in a very obvious manner, compared to the darker colored and more sturdy surface of my 2016 Weeks, which means it absolutely requires a cover.

I did already write about the innards of my 2016 Weeks, but I wanted to show what differs with the 2017 version and what I plan to use each feature for.

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The first spread after the cover is the 3-year overview. There really isn’t any difference with the 2016 version.

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The next spread is the year-on-two-pages, where each day of the year gets a tiny little box. I am not sure what I’ll use this feature for yet, but it seems to be made for some sort of tracking. Again, nothing is different here between 2016 and 2017.

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We come to the monthly views next, which spans December 2016 to March 2018. The only difference here is that the Sunday boxes have been increased by one column so that all days of the week are sized the same. It’s a small but definitely positive change. I am probably going to use this the same way, which is to record appointments so I have a visual overview of them.

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After the monthly views we come immediately to the weekly views, which comprise about half of the whole book. It starts on the first week of December, which means I can start using the Meow Meow Meow as early as November 28, 2016 (I’m so excited!), and if I’m not mistaken it goes all the way to the last week of December 2017. The biggest and most annoying change that happened with the 2017 Weeks is on the weekly spread, and that is the removal of the three lines at the bottom of the days of the week on the left hand side of the spread and was replaced with a two-page spread of the Japanese quotes. I used to put motivational phrases there, or something I really wanted to remember for that week. Now, it’s a whole five rows of unusable space, and I need to think of a way to reclaim it.

The main body of the weekly view will be used the same way as I do now, which is appointments on the left and task manager on the right. It’s working really well, so I see no reason to change it.

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After the weekly pages, we come to the bulk of the other half of the whole book: the Notes pages. We still get the index in front, and you can see here that a page has been added and now we get a total of 72 pages of notes (compared to the 71 pages of 2016). Extra pages are always welcome! There’s quite a lot of things I’m planning for this section, and it deserves its own post, but the main block of it will be used for bullet journaling.

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There are still a few pages of informational stuff after the notes pages, but they are all written in Japanese. I did appreciate this particular one, which is all about cats and dogs. I’d have a lot of fun figuring out what it’s saying, and it’ll be good Nihongo practice for me.

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Towards the end of the book we come to the address pages, which had been reduced to a single page; the 2016 one had¬†four pages. I do understand why this change was done, as I imagine a lot of people had turned to their phones to record their contacts. I do use these pages though, for doctors’ information. I still get space for six contacts, so that may be enough for my needs.

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Lastly we come to the information page and the serial number for my particular book. Nothing has changed here between the years.

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The Weeks itself came with the sticky pocket which I think is really essential, so I’m happy they did not change this. Since this is the first time I’m using the Weeks from the beginning of the year, I also get to receive the railway map and the Life Book flyer. I forgot to include it in the photos here, but the Weeks also came with a Uni Jetstream multipen in powder blue. It turns out to be a good writer even for a ballpoint, so I’m quite pleased by this inclusion.

The changes in the 2017 Weeks are a combination of good and bad, and while the loss of the bottom section in the weekly spreads are quite substantial I think it’s not a deal breaker for me. The rest of the features have been maintained, and that is the one I really care about. Overall I still feel like I’ve found planner peace with the Hobonichi Weeks, so I am quite satisfied with my purchase.

Are you also using Hobonichi Weeks for 2017? I’d love to know how you plan to use it!