I just got a new journal. As my Mom always tells people, ruining the surprise, I like to hide my own journals among the books on my shelves instead of my underwear drawer, or below my pillow, or in-between the box spring and my mattress. In fact, my youngest and chunkiest cat, Fromage, likes to hide in that section of the bed, so a journal just wouldn’t be appropriate in her nook. Thus, most journals that I purchase have to look like books, or at least inconspicuously blend in. I like to think of myself as “writing the mysteries of my life.”
I know, I know, I’m no Sylvia Plath.
No, Doris Lessing.
No secret Judith Shakespeare, in a city street scape penning away secret plays that I’m unable to write because I’m a woman. (Thanks, VA Woolf).
I have a few favorite journal shops and I was told that I should share them via Instagram.
I love these because they’re delicate and they make me feel like somehow, somewhere, America can have a chance at competing with the Japanese when it comes to journaling. Japan did, after all, invent Hello Kitty – the queen of journaling after Lisa Frank. I realize that this is a planner and not a journal, but I think planners can be journals. It’s better than spending $50 at Kikki.K by buying a 365
day journal. Just do your journaling by day in a planner with a cute paisley print. They also have the cutest stitch journals. To the left is my favorite little bear stitch journal, but they have paisley prints and penguins as well. I might have actually just bought the penguin one because I can’t look at journals and not immediately want to be the first to flex the spine. The “Essay Book” is another option from Iconic. I have three of these just sitting on my extra bookshelf and I find them a little too small and a little too thick to lay flat. I definitely need a journal that lays flat so I can drag my hand across the page as I write and not use my writing hand to keep the book open. It’s just a pet peeve of mine.
I bought my first recycled book journal in Asheville at a place called The Findery which ended up closing (and basically ruining my life when I tried to go again last time I was there and it was abandoned. I had to eat a very large hamburger to get over it. I’m a sad eater). Since then, I have scoured Etsy for a shop that doesn’t ruin the binding of the original book, or even tamper with the binding, and still creates a perfectly manicured journal. I have finally found that in The Red Loft
Bindery. And I messaged the woman who runs it, Lauren, after buying my first journal a few days ago (shipping is only two days) and she’s currently revamping her studio in order to add more refurbished books to journals. However, please buy out her stock. Her bindings are so worth it and she puts old fashioned print in the back & front inside covers which makes each book even more meaningful to the owner.
These. Are. Pricey.
I actually do hide this one in my sock drawer because it still smells like the slaughtered cattle it was made from. So serious. Louise is from New Zealand so the shipping can be a little intense if you’re traveling the journal all the way to the US, but it’s probably good luck if you let your journal vacation before it’s even in your hands. My bibliographic journal is a “medium” version and I loved it because it has this hard ass brown leather mixed with this dainty lace. I thought it represented the cow girl that I always dreamt of being as a child. (I do have a cow girl
Christmas ornament for the one time I made the mistake of telling my Mom that I wanted to be a cow girl). It’s got beautifully sheared-edged sheets of paper, over 300 pages and the inside covers have the same beautiful stationary that I mentioned The Red Loft Bindery has. The artistry and time spent on each of these journals makes them well worth the price. I will admit, it won’t stay open when flat, but it makes me feel like I’m a Victorian bustled women when I carry it in a satchel. I just became even more hipster, didn’t I? The best part about Bibliographica is that she names each of her journals. Mine is called “The Novelist,” fitting, right?
Let’s just be honest, there’s a HUGE fad with Midori right now. Whole Youtube accounts are dedicated to decorating your newest Fauxdori, or how to set up your Jendori. They come in seven thousand colors, prints, and sizes. Some dori in plastic, some in leather, and some fabric. I have a fabric dori with polka dots that I love, but it doesn’t hold up as well as my Midori from Eternal Leather Goods. That Herman Oak is something and Colin monogrammed it so the Southern girl in my squealed a little bit to hold it in my hands. Colin has great reviews on Etsy and although it takes a while with shipping from Hong Kong, it’s well worth the wait. I carry this dori everywhere because it fits in almost any purse. I use it as my thought journal. Whenever I have a random thought that doesn’t need to be generated into a list (Moleskine) then I put it in my dori. I know that we have phones for this with “notes,” but I just can’t make the technological crossover.
I just got really obsessive compulsive there for a second.
I have a journal for everything. Stacks of post its for reminders. Post it tags for favorites. I can’t seem to keep a doodle/art journal though. I need words, WORDS I TELL YOU.
The only spiral notebook in my journals list and the only notebook I will use for school is a Green Room notebook. The only place I know where to find these journals is at Target. Don’t be swayed by the Moleskine section, or the feel of a baby blue twelve dollar Cambridge notebook, it’s enticing, but it’s just not the same. The Green Room is my ride or die notebook. The college rule is perfectly separated. The lines aren’t too dark because they’re just a row of light brown dots, typically. The special section between the header and the beginning of the lines is perfect for dates and titles. The paper, oh, the paper. It’s a fine art of journal making and eco friendly goodness.
I do not like journals with titles.
If it has a title, it’s not for me. And Green Room understands me, but they’re also branching out into titled journals. So, if that’s for you, head to your nearest Target, which you obviously hit up on a regular basis, and go to the Green Room journal section. I use the spirals for school and the skinny dippys for funsies.
One journal that I’ve found to be really popular and I just can’t get on board with is the May Designs journals. Most of them come monogrammed for an extra four or five dollars (I can’t remember), but they’re skinny, and a little bit too flimsy. They don’t lay open on a desk and they don’t have enough pages to really get into your flow of journaling. I need the first twenty pages to sound like a seventh grade girl that “shoots the shit” with herself. After that, I’m actually journaling. I now use my May Designs for grocery lists, but I don’t think I’ll buy another one. The prints are FAB-U-LOUS, the journals just aren’t what I’m looking for in an intimate partner.
To the doodlers, scar facers, dribblers & scribblers, find your journal; find your zen.
I am a writer, educator and genuine creative living on the coast of NC. Our house is built on sunshine with my husband BJ, dog named Tucker, and our two very sassy cats: Fromage and Jasper.