It’s time I update you on my planner. Since January, I’ve moved out of the narrow-size Deluxe Distressed Creme Brulee from Chic Sparrow, and into a personal-size Classic Golden Maverick from Chic Sparrow for personal stuff, and I was using the Creme Brulee for teaching and lesson planning during the school year, but have decided to make that my writing planner. And I’m probably gonna go all BuJo on my lesson planning.

personal size traveler's notebook

The reason I decided to keep the stuff in my Chic Sparrow cheap was because traveler’s notebooks can sometimes feel like money pits. Sure, you buy the leather cover, but then you need the special inserts. And there are a ton of really great people who make them for free or sell them on Etsy. But you start to wonder if you can justify the cost of the notebook that you are going to put into your already-expensive cover. So you decide to save money by purchasing some PDFs with a planner layout you like, and then print them on your own. You buy some heavier weight paper to make these notebooks as crisp as possible and so your pens and markers don’t bleed through, and you get some fancy pants card stock for the covers. Then, you have to buy a new ink cartridge to make sure they print right. And, if you’re like me, you waste 80% of your ink and paper test printing your inserts to get the layout and page order right because your printer is either not user friendly or possessed by the devil — jury is still out.

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I’ve been there. That’s why I decided to take some of the pressure off myself and use cheap inserts that I found at Target and Bed Bath and Beyond.

Yep. You read that right. I found these inserts at everyday, local sort of places. No, they aren’t Midori brand or anything like that, and the paper quality is pretty much garbage, but they’ve been working for me for the past 6 months.

personal size traveler's notebook

I started out using a bullet journal-style notebook for my daily planning, but really didn’t like focusing on just daily stuff. I like to write down what will be happening in the future as soon as I find out about it so I don’t miss appointments. So, I purchased this little insert from the Target Dollar Spot.

personal size traveler's notebook

It’s not incredibly sturdy, and definitely was not designed for this use. And I actually had to remove the middle section of pages because they were upside down, and then I glued them back in again. But overall I like how it works for my purposes.


I have a notebook I created where I’ve written my manifesto for the year. I’m also tracking books I’ve read, what I’ve learned each month. So far, I like the practice of doing it, and that’s the best part because it’s made me enjoy the process, as well as celebrate little victories.

personal size traveler's notebook


My zipper/pocket pouch is from 3 Speckled Fawns on Etsy. It’s really sturdy and holds my washi tape cars and stickers. The pockets aren’t ideal, and the pouch pockets I received were different than the pockets in the listing picture on Etsy, but it wasn’t a big enough of a deal for me to try to send it back or anything. (Also, the shop owner sent me the pen loop you see here for free.) So, if you’re planning on ordering this, know that virtually nothing will fit in these pockets, except for cut up sticker sheets and tiny Post-Its.

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personal size traveler's notebook

I made a dashboard by laminating a piece of transparent scrapbook paper. I then used two adhesive plastic pockets I got in the Target Dollar spot a long time ago to hold stamps and stickers, and glued some Post-Its down for easy access.

personal size traveler's notebook

And finally, I have a monthly calendar that I use for future planning. It’s a no-name brand and I purchased it at Bed Bath and Beyond.

personal size traveler's notebook

As for accessories, I’m using the Waterman fountain pen that my parents got me when I graduated college. At least, I think it was college. May have been high school. Either way, it was a billion years ago. I also carry a black fine tip Sharpie, because I feel like I need it, though I’m sure I don’t. I also have this little charm from Michael’s on the band.

personal size traveler's notebook

I’ve been using this set up since January, and it hasn’t done me wrong yet. That having been said…I can feel a change coming on. #onebookjuly is just around the corner and I’m pretty excited to take part. Oh, and to also show you the sweet extra wide Jitney Red Outlander Chic Sparrow notebook I purchased. Stay tuned!

8 Responses

  1. My god, you are such a grownup and using a planner.
    I mean that in the best way. I just use the calendar app
    on my phone if I remember to. Good going!

    1. Ha! I have to write it all down or else I’ll forget it all. And I’m so bad about remembering to check the calendar app. I’m an analog girl all the way.

    1. No problem! Also, check the dollar store. They tend to have oddly shaped notebooks that fit perfectly in a traveler’s notebook.

  2. For some decent paper at a decent price you should check out TJ Max – I’ve found some great items at two of my stores. My collection of paper is growing along with my TN collection. And, no matter how old that Phineas is, it’s a great pen for edc, I know I have 2 of them. I’m trying out 3 different TN’s to see what I want to carry every day. I did find a calendar book in a cover at target that starts in July through June 2017 that looks like it will work well for me, but I also love the undated vertical one I got from AOR JOURNALS. All of that said, I like your suggestions because I get a lot of stuff from target too that fit my book covers.

    1. I always forget about TJ Maxx! They have such great journals there. I’ll definitely have to stop by there next time I need some supplies.

  3. I just jumped into a serious rabbit hole of #onebookjuly. Good stuff. Love the planner and really think paper helps us to brain better.

  4. Wow, it’s interesting that you talked about this personalized notebook cover! Who would think that it is a home-made stuff? You are so creative and how I wish I could also make one on my own. Anyway, it is also best for gifting!

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