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Archive | February, 2013

Introducing Midori! Fun Spiralbound Notebooks Straight from Japan

27 Feb

NEW! Introducing Midori Notebooks and Envelopes on EuropeanPaper.com

Imported from Japan, Midori Spiralbound Notebooks are available in four sizes with three different paper types to allow your imagination to take the driver seat. Midori uses animal icons on each spiral ring notebook series for easy identification. Use this guide to find the right notebook for you:

  • Polar Bear – Blank, pure white MD paper, resistant to ink bleed-through. Imagine a polar bear treading across a blank, pure white snow field. (4 sizes available)
  • Honey Bee – The inside sheets are instead envelopes each with an open window for keeping photos, stamps, cards, or anything you collect and want to keep. Remember this series as honey bees ‘collect’ honey, you ‘collect’ memories and miscellaneous items. (2 sizes available)
  • Kangaroo – Cream colored MD paper, resistant to ink bleed-through, are constructed as internal pockets for receipts, notes, miscellaneous pieces of paper, or anything else you care to keep close. Hop around with pockets just like a kangaroo does with this series. (2 sizes available)

Discover Your True Passions by Journaling

25 Feb

It’s a new year and with Spring coming, many of us find ourselves looking to new things and new experiences to fill our days. With so many ‘new’ things to try, it can get a little overwhelming!  Painting, yoga, music, film, reading, journaling … the list goes on and on! So how do you find your passion?  Where do you start?

Hobbies vs. Passions

So what is a passion?  I define a passion as something that drives you; that makes you feel alive and truly happy.  A good friend of mine defined it as the “reason she wakes up in the morning.”  Your passion is dictated by how you personally define it.

What is the difference between a passion, a hobby, and your life’s work?  Some may say not much; I believe that they are distinct yet intertwined.  A hobby is something you like doing, your life’s work is something that you want to be remembered for, a passion is what YOU ARE.  Similar, yet different.

What are you passionate about?  What do you like to do, love to do, WANT to do?  Writing these down can help you find your path.

Grab a Notebook & Start Writing

First, grab a notebook (I personally like the Moleskine Cahier notebooks for this exercise), a pen (my new obsession is the Lamy AL-Star fountain pen), and find a quiet place to sit and reflect.  Write down what makes you Happy, the kind of happy with a capital H!

Do you find that you race home to start writing the second chapter of your novel?  Or that you purposely go out of your way at markets for exotic fruits and spices?   Do you live to read or write?  Does listening to music or creating music make you complete?  Write it all down. Create a list of things that inspire you and don’t edit it.

Visual Aids for Inspiration & Motivation

Take it to the next level with visual aids. Take old magazines and cut out inspiring quotes and images.  Paste them into your passions journal.  As you sift through the images, see what themes emerge – do you have pictures of the Taj Mahal, the Eiffel Tower and the beaches in Bali?  Or do you have pictures of books and letters and art?  Or is your notebook filled with recipes and images of colorful fruits and vegetables?  As you fill up your idea notebook with images, you will see distinct themes percolate to the top.

What if More Than One Passion Presents Itself?

If you find yourself with a multitude of passions emerging, my opinion is to explore them all!  Find a local class at the art center, or a non-credit course at the local university.  Carry your notebook with you to take notes about your experience: Was it what you expected? How would you change it for the better? Whether you are ecstatic, lukewarm, or turned off by a certain experience, write down what you felt and why.

As you explore different paths, remember to take your journal with you and write down everything that strikes you.  This process weeds out what you think you like with what you really love. I used to think I wanted to be a chef, but I realized after much journaling and reflection that while I love to cook, it was a hobby and not a career.  Looking back on my experiences with cooking, it became clear to me.  Writing down your honest experiences helps with that.

Community Conversations

Discovering someone else’s passion is a good way to experience something new and have a guide along the way! Talk to your friends and see what they are interested in. Politely ask if they would take you along to a yoga class with them, show you how to cook a special dish, or attend a local music concert with you.

Recently, I have found the wonders and joy of keeping a visual journal.  It has helped me find my passions and pursue them wholeheartedly.  As I flip through the pages of my journal, I can see the evolution of my thoughts and I see how I found myself in the process.

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Meet the Writer: Akhila Jagdish is a writer and editor in the process of starting her own editorial services company, The Crafted Word. She loves making lists, collecting journals, reading, drinking wine and cooking. 

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Perfect Productivity Tools: Exacompta Exabag (Durable Daily Tote)

22 Feb

Productivity Tools for Everyday Life brought to you by EuropeanPaper.com - Rhodia A4 Meeting Notebook

Exacompta Exabag (14.25 x 12 x 2) on EuropeanPaper.com

NEW: Exacompta Vintage FAF Notepads

20 Feb

Exacompta Vintage FAF Pad (4.25 x 7.25) on EuropeanPaper.com

Always jotting down quick notes at your office desk, or scratching out a grocery list before you head out the door? Make it easier on yourself and keep the Exacompta Vintage FAF Notepad close at hand. With its retro flair and brass hardware, the FAF Pad gives your office or home desk a subtle vintage vibe. Plus, the white, blank notepad is microperforated at the top of each page for easy removal, and the whole pad can be replaced with a refill when you’re finished with the original.

Curious about the fountain pen in the image? That beautiful pen is the Caran d’Ache Varius Collection Ivanhoe Gold Fountain Pen and is an exquisite fountain pen made with a 18-kt. gold nib and a gold-plated coat of mail body.

Planner Sale: Save Up to 45% Off 2013 Planners

18 Feb

Last Chance for up to 45% Off 2013 Planners on EuropeanPaper.com

Perfect Productivity Tools: Cavallini Clipiola Paper Clips (Distinct & Fun)

15 Feb

Productivity Tools for Everyday Life brought to you by EuropeanPaper.com - Rhodia A4 Meeting Notebook

Cavallini Clipiola Italian Paper Clips on EuropeanPaper.com

Rhodia Meeting Book: Stylish & Strong with a New Polypro Cover

13 Feb

New Rhodia PolyPro Meeting Notebook on EuropeanPaper.com

Practicing Contemplative Journaling (or How to Write Something Truly Thoughtful)

11 Feb

The Art of Contemplative Journaling (or How to Write Something Truly Thoughtful)

Have you ever wanted to sit down to write something? Not as big as a book or a novel, yet not something smaller like a recap of the day’s events. Instead, something that really interests you as you write it?

Then the concept of Contemplative Journaling will interest you. It’s the practice of writing something more than a standard journal entry, but less than a full story. It’s that lovely “in-between” area; something you can accomplish in just an hour or two and that makes for better reading and better writing.

While many ways to journal this way exist, I’m going to take you through just a few of them.

Contemplative Journaling Method #1 | Expand on Your Lists

If you read my recent post about the best formats for blog posts or journal entries, you should be pretty familiar with list-making. Lists are such fantastic little structures: great for itemizing simple things (like a grocery list) and for keeping track of what’s important (goals for 2013).

Take one of the lists you’ve already written and expand upon each item. Let’s say you decide to revisit your List of Goals for 2010 … even though it’s now three years old. Here are a few angles to create a contemplative journal entry from this.

+  Have you achieved those goals? If you have, talk about how you did it. If there are some you have not achieved, write about why not. Maybe it’s just no longer a priority.

+  Why were those your goals then? This is a great way to write about who you were then and who you are now by exploring what was important to you at the time.

+  Is there an item in that list you haven’t accomplished? Maybe it has been a goal for several years now, but you’ve just not been successful with it. Perhaps it’s time to examine why you keep thinking it’s a priority and how you’ll make it a success the next time you add it to a list.

Contemplative Journaling Method #2 | Process an Experience

While you’re reading this, think about something embarrassing that has happened to you in your life. If nothing comes to mind, think about someone who wronged you, or made you upset. Everyone has had at least one embarrassing or upsetting experience. Contemplative Journaling is a great way to process that experience. If you need to work through the experience and let go of something, this is a great exercise.

First, think of the ‘thing’ you need to let go of. Maybe it was a coworker who made a rude comment, or an inappropriate way you behaved. Objectively describe the event as it happened. Do not include ‘feelings’ in this part: no discussing how you felt or how you think they felt. Just actions.

Second, after detailing the event, move on to write about the ‘feeling’ part of the experience. Where did your feelings come into play and what were they?

Third, write the experience from the viewpoint of any other person involved. If it’s the coworker with the inappropriate comment, write the experience from his/her perspective.

(As this can be an intense exercise for some, if you need a quick break to come back to the project with fresh eyes, this is a perfect spot to pause.)

Fourth, read what you wrote and write about why you’ve held on to this. Why does this experience come up in your mind so readily? Why are you carrying it around? Does it relate to something seemingly unrelated in your past? Explore everything that comes up in your mind and write it down.

Fifth, write a statement of release. Literally write a release for the experience. “ I’ve processed this experience and I was holding on to it because of X. I no longer need to carry it with me.”

You can use this technique for all kinds of things: the loss of a pet, losing a contract on a house you’d been trying to buy, spending too much money over the holidays, canceling a night out with friends because you thought you wanted to stay in. If you have an experience that keeps ‘sticking’ then you should examine it.

Contemplative Journaling Method #3 | Be the Version of Yourself You Want to Be

This tends to be a good exercise at the beginning of a new year. It’s helpful in getting your brain to really connect the dots between where you are today and who you want to be tomorrow. Self improvement! But more fun.

Let’s say you go back to work next week after a few days off. Write about your normal workday if you went in as you are now. Below that, write about your workday, but as the person you’d like to be. Maybe you are trying to have more efficient mornings at work so you aren’t scrambling to leave on time. It might look like this:

“I show up for work 10 minutes late on Monday, set my stuff down and go to the break room for coffee. I see a coworker and we talk for about 10 minutes about the past weekend. I go upstairs, turn on my computer. I talk to my cubemate for a few minutes about the weekend. I check my email, and respond to one or two of them. Then I check Facebook. At about 10 a.m. I start my first task. I break to use the restroom. I come back and finish the task and take a lunch. After lunch, I go to my coworker’s desk to talk for a few minutes. When I get back to my desk, I see someone has left a stack of reports I need to scan, copy and file by the end of the day. I sit down to finish the work I should have completed that morning. It’s 3 p.m. and I go for a break to grab a snack. By the time I get back it’s 3:30 p.m. and I still have to copy all those documents and prepare for tomorrow’s meeting. I don’t leave until just before 7 p.m. when I should have been out the door by 5 p.m.”

The rewrite might be:

“I wake up 15 minutes earlier than normal and sit in bed to read a chapter in a book. This prevents me from hitting the snooze button and gives me a bit of ‘me’ time. I make it to work 5 minutes late. I go and grab coffee and briefly talk to a coworker. I go upstairs, turn on my computer, and make a to-do list for the day, except I divide it into Morning and Afternoon tasks. I complete a small, simple task first; then I check my email and respond to a few. I work on my next task, complete it, and grab another coffee and bathroom break. I come back, finish the last task of the morning, and head to lunch. At lunch, I invite a new coworker out with me. This gets me the socialization I think I need during the day. After lunch, I work on my afternoon tasks. I leave on time.”

It might seem like a mundane thing, but most people really enjoy this. It allows you to look at yourself as you are, and then as you’d like to be. Productivity is a great thing to try first because everyone (generally) could be a bit more productive. Whether it’s at the office, or at home (hello, laundry that never gets put away) there are a ton of scenarios to write about here.

This actually teaches your brain to better recognize those bad habits so you can correct them moving forward.

More advanced prompts for this involve interactions for others: communicating with your spouse, communicating with a child, etc.

Contemplative Journaling is an excellent use of those nice journals, nice pen and your brain. If you want to sit down to really write something then this is the perfect exercise for you.

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Meet the Writer: Cole Imperi is a business owner and a proponent of the handwritten word. When not at Doth Brands, a Branding & Identity firm catering to the health, wellness & deathcare professions where Cole works as Owner and Creative Director, you might find her on her yoga mat teaching yoga or behind a laptop writing for Simplicity Embellished, a letter-writing and lifestyle blog.

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Editor’s Note: This article is part of the How to Write series. Read the others here:

How to Write: Sympathy Notes

How to Write: Ideal Business Correspondence Notes

How to Write: Friendship / Appreciation Notes

How to Write: Thank You Notes

How to Write: With a Fountain Pen

How to Write: To a New Penpal

How to Maintain Your Pen Collection

How to Write: Improving Your Cursive Skills

How to Write: A Letter of Resignation

How to Write: A Letter of Recommendation

How to Write: The Best Formula for a Blog Post People will Actually Read

Perfect Productivity Tools: Rhodia No. 18 Notepad (Multi-tasking Favorite)

8 Feb

Productivity Tools for Everyday Life brought to you by EuropeanPaper.com

Rhodia Top Staplebound No. 18 Notepad (8.25 x 11.75) on EuropeanPaper.com

Seeing Red Collection: Not Just for Valentine’s Day

6 Feb

Red Collection on EuropeanPaper.com

1) Apica Premium A5 CD Notebook (5.8 x 8.25)
2) Rhodia Rhodiarama Pocket Webnotebook (3.5 x 5.5)
3) Clairefontaine Large Vintage Notebooks (5.75 x 8.25) (Set of 2)
4) J. Herbin La Perle des Encres (The Jewel of Inks) (30 mL)
5) Fisher Translucent Bullet Space Pen
6) Cretacolor Fine Art Red Graphite Pencil Tin (Set of 24)
7) Lamy Safari Ballpoint Pen and Lamy Safari Rollerball Pen
8) Moleskine Passions Wine Journal (5 x 8.25)

Shop the whole Red Collection here >>

How to Write: The Best Formula for a Blog Post People will Actually Read

4 Feb

How to Write: The Best Formula for a Blog Post People will Actually Read by Cole Imperi on EuropeanPaper.com/Blog

The average person takes in the equivalent of more than 174 newspapers worth of data each day, and your challenge is getting someone to not only read what you wrote on your blog, but maybe, also, to remember something about it.

Once you understand how much information the average person is bombarded with in a day, you can approach your own blog’s content with wiser eyes.

Do you know what one of the best formats for a blog post is?

A list.

People like lists. They understand them. They’re easy to read and remember.

Why do you think so many lists appear in top-selling magazines? Think about Real Simple for example. The cover generally advertises at least a few articles inside giving you 14 Ways to Clean Your Kitchen, or 48 Ways to Easily De-clutter Your Bedroom, right? The research has already been done on this, so make use of this knowledge and apply it to your blog.

Here’s how:

  1. Write a few words that describe your blog. If you already have a tagline, expand on that. If you haven’t branded yourself quite yet, briefly summarize what you normally blog about. Let’s say you write about your personal life, horses and baking.
  2. Pick one of those subjects and break it out. Take your personal life. What are things you have learned in the last year? What are some mistakes you’ll never make again and why? What have you purchased this year?
  3. Take the items you are most excited about and write the titles. Using the examples in #2 you could have:
    1. “8 Things I learned in 2012”
    2. “4 Mistakes I made as a Young Adult I’ll Never Make Again”
    3. “7 Things I Bought That Made My Life Easier”

Lists are great because once you have the title, they basically write themselves. They are also accessible to more potential readers; you can snag someone with a minuscule amount of time when you present a list. And most of all, lists are easy to share. People would rather share a list of something useful with friends rather than a very long diatribe about the happenings in your life the past week.

Lists help you package a lot of pieces together in a new way, and often, they make blogging more fun, too.

If you happen to be a journaler, packing your entries into list format is not only a good writing exercise—it also helps you gain a new perspective on whatever you may be writing about. Instead of just recording the happenings of last week, what if you called your entry “10 New Things I Discovered Last Week.” Your entry immediately becomes more than just a recall of events, and becomes something richer and deeper. If you are the type that hopes to pass your journals along to your descendants, reading list entries like the example above makes for some interesting reading.

Lists can be so much more than what you need to pick up at the grocery store or things you need to get done this week. Make use of this technique in your blogging (and writing).

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Meet the Writer: Cole Imperi is a business owner and a proponent of the handwritten word. When not at Doth Brands, a Branding & Identity firm catering to the health, wellness & deathcare professions where Cole works as Owner and Creative Director, you might find her on her yoga mat teaching yoga or behind a laptop writing for Simplicity Embellished, a letter-writing and lifestyle blog.

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Editor’s Note: This article is part of the How to Write series. Read the others here:

How to Write: Sympathy Notes

How to Write: Ideal Business Correspondence Notes

How to Write: Friendship / Appreciation Notes

How to Write: Thank You Notes

How to Write: With a Fountain Pen

How to Write: To a New Penpal

How to Maintain Your Pen Collection

How to Write: Improving Your Cursive Skills

How to Write: A Letter of Resignation

How to Write: A Letter of Recommendation

Pull Out Your Finest Pens, Stationery & More: It’s Letter Writing Month!

1 Feb

February is Letter Writing Month! Accept the Challenge at EuropeanPaper.com

We’re psyched to begin February with news of two fabulous letter writing challenges from around the blogosphere!

  • First up is the Month of Letters Challenge (LetterMo.com) started in 2011 by novelist Mary Kowal
  • FPGeeks also created a “mail a day” challenge called International Correspondence Writing Month (InCoWriMo, which is inspired by NaNoWriMo if the acronym doesn’t sound familiar).

Both challenge websites have forums and more information, but the premise is simple: mail one thing per day over the course of the month. (Technically, LetterMo’s challenge is for you to send 23 pieces of mail, one per every day the postal service runs, while InCoWriMo’s challenge is 28 pieces of mail, one per day.) Whether you send a postcard, 5-page handwritten letter, mail art, or package is completely up to you.

Resources:

Have you written a blog post about Letter Writing Month or have another resource for us to list? Add it in the comments below and we’ll add it up here!