** No scheduled design post this morning because we are taking a minute to sit/process/read what happened what with the storming of our Capitol and the threatening of our democracy. Huge congrats to Georgia for its historic win!! Stacey Abrams is a national treasure. WHAT. A. DAY. Hoping today, Thursday, is a better one for all of America.
Is there anything that unites folks quite as much as the allure of a new notebook or planner? I don’t know (or fully understand, TBH) what dopamine receptors are being triggered whenever I see school supplies – is it the reminder of simpler times? The hope of one day actually getting my life together? The general siren song of the dollar spot at Target? – but it’s POWERFUL and, for reasons unknown, seemingly universal. (Feel free to confirm that you also have this love of notepads and that I’m not totally losing it, thanks.)
See, at the beginning of this year (i.e. earlier this week), Sara posted an Instagram story featuring her new daily calendar – notepad sized with gold-leafed edges – and it sent me down an organizational spiral. NEW YEAR, NEW ME. I’ve long been a proponent of the tiny, pastel-colored legal pad (and it’s still a favorite!) but little pleasures these days are few and far between so like, why NOT treat myself to some new notebooks with REAL covers and pages that won’t get torn when I toss them in my backpack?
We ended up putting out a call on Instagram and y’all responded in DROVES with your favorites. Mallory and Ryann culled them down into the best of the best (every post is a true team effort here, y’all). Then, in the spirit of really GOING FOR IT, I ended up pulling together 9 of my favorite pens because I’m the type of boring person who eats spaghetti with butter, goes to bed by 10 PM, and can actually list 9 different favorite brands of pens off the top of their head.
To that end: planners and notepads and bullet journals and gel pens and ballpoints and rollerballs galore are below! All tested and loved by the fine, stylish, organized (I assume), design-minded folks of the EHD blogosphere. LET US BEGIN GETTING OUR LIVES TOGETHER, together. 2021 is already looking up, right?
1. Customizable Notebook/Planner | 2. Unlined Fabric Journal | 3. Year Task Planner | 4. Unlined Field Book | 5. Goal-Oriented 2021 Planner | 6. Moleskine Monthly Planner | 7. Colorblock Hardcover Planner | 8. Dotted Softcover Notebook | 9. Desktop Notepad | 10. 30 Day Challenge Planner | 11. Large Lined Journal | 12. Goal-Setting Planner | 13. Small Monthly Planner | 14. Time Block Task Sheet | 15. Undated Weekly Planner | 16. Lined Hardcover Notebook | 17. Faux Leather Journal | 18. Everyday Notebook
SO MANY BEAUTIFUL CHOICES. Let’s break it down a little bit by task, yeah?
Best of Undated Planners: These are a dream if you’re the type of person who’s like, “oh, I’ll start doing that at 1 PM,” and then when you look up and realize it’s 1:05 PM, you’re like, “I guess I’ll do it at 2 PM.” There’s no fear of looking at missed pages or swaths of empty months with these – you start exactly where you are and you can tweak the days as you see fit.
Our personal favorite is #13 – it’s only $3, Jess recommended it last year, and it was a best-seller in 2020 – but if you’re looking for something larger, #9 is sized for a desktop. #10 is also VERY goal-oriented (breaking things down into 30-day achievable goals), and you can’t beat the aesthetics of #15.
Best of 2021 Planners: I’ve long been a loyalist to Bando’s selection of planners and calendars, so I was very, very, very stoked to get some new brands and recommendations from y’all. Fun little tip before we break down the favorites: if you’re not great at remembering to journal and if you can’t remember what you did last week (those things seem related, but I digress), planners are super fun to use as journals! I like to put down 2-5 bullet points on big (or small) things that happened that day and then read it back at the end of the year. EASY DIARY HACK.
No matter the impetus, if you’re looking for a 2021-specific planner, we’ve got you: #5 and #12 are great for intentional goal setting and #6 is the classic Moleskin but BOY, AM I IN LOVE WITH #7. I just bought one for myself – it comes in a ton of well-curated colorblocked options and it’s just a dream. A million thank yous to the fine folks who sent us this one!!!
For General Note-Taking and Journaling: Ah yes, notepads for the rest of us. A few standouts here – #2 and #4 are unlined (if that’s your thing), #8 has dotted insides (for those who can bullet journal – props to you), and you can customize the inside of #18 to be lined, blank, dotted, or gridded.
#11, #16, and #17 are good old-fashioned standard notebooks, but were recommended for their paper quality/weight/texture. (I ended up going with #16 to replace my own legal pads. NEW YEAR NEW ME IS RIGHT.) But now that we’ve got our notebook situation taken care of, it’s time for the true star of the show!!!
If you’re like, “hey, is this person neurotic enough to write tiny descriptions about all of these???” the answer is YES, and the pen of your dreams is below. Please enjoy smooth writing, no smudging, and no bleeding. Magic!
1. 60 Glitter Gel Pens: There’s a meme I saw once that said that Libras are the type to sign legal documents in gel pen…and it’s not wrong. Many EHD contracts have been signed in colored glitter pen!!! (Please don’t judge me.) These are my personal favorite – they don’t dry out or get scratchy and they’re fun and vibrant which makes red-lining documents a real treat!!!
2. Calligraphy Pen Set: This was actually a Ryann recommendation and it’s a good one! $8 for a variety of pens with all different weights and brush tips is a great deal. (Also, like, maybe you’ll pick up a new skill, which is even better!!!)
3. Be Nice Pen Set: Sometimes a gal just wants a cute purse pen to lend to strangers. (I guess, like, when it’s not a pandemic, though.) This is that pen. Also VERY cute for desk styling.
4. Ultra-Fine Tip Pens: NUMBER ONE PEN. Will die on this hill. If you want your notes to be TEENY TINY and VERY NEAT, this is the pen.
5. Chroma Ballpoint: It’s fun AND it has a happy face stamp on the end. Big fan of this one if you’re trying to check goals off a list because the stamps are 1. cuter and 2. more uniform, therefore more satisfying, than regular checks.
6. Refillable Pen: Just a real beautiful one with this leafy green print AND she’s refillable. I see you, mother nature!!!
7. Gold Ballpoint: This pen is on sale for $5.95 but it feels like something VERY FANCY. It’s really weighty and feels like a pen my grandpa would pull out of a pocket to do important business dealings (you know, like, in a magical situation where my grandpa was still alive and a rich businessman).
8. Needlepoint Pen: Niche interest alert – this is the pen version of the clicky lead pencils we all grew up with. This one is really great if you’re writing A LOT (e.g. handwritten essays or books or something).
9. Set of 6 Ballpoint Pens: Sweet, classic, super affordable, pretty to look at, and nice ink flow. Can’t go wrong!
And there you have it. Those are our favorites – did we miss any of yours? Let’s talk about school supplies because they’re tiny bright spots on a weird and long winter. CAN’T WAIT TO CHAT WITH YA. xx
Opening Photo Credit: Photo by Tessa Neustadt | From: Custom Framing for our Home Office With Framebridge