Tag Archives: journals

Paper Junkie Post: Starbucks Planner vs. CBTL Giving Journal – A Review

If you are one of the thousands of Filipinos who fueled their caffeine addiction in exchange for their annual planner – then, welcome to my world. I have spent a big chunk of November and December 2018 guzzling coffee from one shop to another. First, because that’s really how I roll and second, because the paper junkie in me just can’t pass the opportunity to have the annual Christmas planners from both coffee shops.

My 2019 Journals: a Moleskine notebook for daily living notes (expenses, bills, etc), a 2019 Starbucks Planner for my creative outputs and personal schedules, a 2019 CBTL Giving Journal for work note-taking and schedules, a Bucket List journal for goal setting and planning and a Starbucks travel journal

A lot has been written on this annual Pinoy tradition (see here and here) – in my case, it’s because I am a paper addict and I can’t help it. As you can see from the photo above, I am currently maintaining five planners. If you think that this is weird, I will gleefully point out that there’s a whole set of paper junkies who gladly maintain four to five planners (or more!).

Giving Journal is the one at the bottom, with the Starbucks planner on top  

With about a month’s worth of pages already filled up, Here’s my review of both planners:

  1. Paper – I am more partial to the paper used in the Starbucks planner. Yes, it’s thinner than the one used for the Giving Journal. But the Starbucks planner is smoother, which is better for brush lettering using the pen brush – the pen tends to glide more smoothly. However, the advantage of the thick paper used for the Giving Journal is that it doesn’t mark easily, there is less bleeding and the succeeding pages doesn’t get sacrificed.
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My 2019 Goals

2. Design – This is like comparing apples to oranges. The Giving Journal adapts a more streamlined, cleaner design compared to the Starbucks planner. While there are individual commissioned art work that heralds the start of every month, Giving Journal adapted a cleaner, more streamlined approach in its inside pages – dominated with a purple print/font and a cleaner lay-out.

Meanwhile, the Starbucks Planner is like someone played in the art lab and the planner was the result. Making use of watercolor prints, creative fonts and splashes of color here and there – the planner begs to be painted and doodled on.

In my opinion, the design for each planner work both ways. The Giving Journal is perfect for those who value content and clean lay out minus the splashy designs and flashy background. For me, it’s good for composing your thoughts, laying down your schedule and even for a bit of soul-searching mixed with daily journaling. The Starbucks planner is when you want to get creative and want your planner to stand out for the #gram.

For the cover, the best one for me is the black with gold lining option from the 2019 Giving Journal but my go-to branch ran out of that option so I chose the one with the cork cover. I am not really a fan of planner cover with too busy artwork as I have this weird fixation with clean layouts for the outside pages.



3. Content – similar to the design, there’s no comparison needed between the Starbucks and the Giving Journal planner. The advantage of the Giving Journal planner is how the content challenges the user to make use of the planner as a means to self-reflect and organize their life. This goes beyond jotting down random schedules or notes for school or work. It’s making use of the prompts to look deep within yourself and emerge a better person after filling up the whole planner.

Meanwhile, the Starbucks planner encourages and prompts its user to be more creative and add color and meaning to the otherwise mundane day-to-day task of note-taking. I am using my planner as my personal diary. I tend to disregard the dates and just mark its pages with quotes, writing prompts and artworks that mean a lot to me for a particular day.

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My final verdict? The Giving Journal for me is tops when it comes to content, while the Starbucks journal takes the cake in design and execution. Both planners are worth the caffeine overload and the thrill of trying to collect that danged sticker/stamp every December.

Just a footnote from this paper junkie: As someone whose life is too busy and too hectic for their own good sometimes, I am grateful for the quiet times when I can just fiddle with my planners and pens, just writing my thoughts, going through my schedule and basically just trying to make sense of the topsy-turvy world I live in.

You know, I have been keeping journals since I was twelve — I’ve seen my writing all through these years and I am grateful for the chance to see how I managed to grow up through the years. Of course, there’s a lot of content there that begs to be annihilated and just reading through my execrable writing during my teenage years is enough to burn my eyes. But, it also gives me affirmation that I did not grow up so bad at all. During times when I feel like giving up on life, when depression is getting the most of me, reading my journals often gives me enough lifeline to vow not to sink, and to just swim hard no matter how hard it gets.



The written word

I started writing as early as ten. I was a major geek growing up, yet couldn’t retain numbers in my head. I was atrocious at Math. I remember when I was in fifth grade, I had a Math teacher who has a habit of giving pop quizzes every other day. After all the papers were checked, she’ll have all students who scored lower than 3 out of the 5 question quiz line-up in front of the whole class. She’ll proceed to pinching us hard on the corner of our inner thighs (in tagalog: kurot sa singit punishment). Man, my singit hated that damned teacher!

I probably mentioned before that both my parents were working while I was growing up and I am pretty much left to my own devices. At sixteen, hate-filled and concerned with my growing number of zits, I decided to convey all my repressed hate, frustrations, emotions and even unsaid dreams on paper. I never looked back after that.

In my fourteen years of writing, I’ve amassed notebooks. I’ve pretty much written on all kinds: from drawing pads, diaries with built-in fragrance, the 50-peso lined notebook, my Jordi Labandas, a white hardcover from the States, a sketch pad/journal from Malaysia. And the latest one: a birthday gift from a friend.

And while I have been blogging for almost a year now, nothing beats the feeling of pen touching paper, and the scratching sound made as you write on crisp writing paper.

Nothing beats consigning your thoughts, secrets, fears and even hopes on paper and getting to read it a few years after. I chanced upon an old diary (the scented kind with matching heart lock) and made the cardinal sin of reading what I wrote when I was 18 and obsessed with a college classmate.

It was freaking awful. I nearly died laughing

It sounded as if it was a prop for an annoying teen romance series. I had the compulsion to burn it and bury any evidence of that annoying teenager, but then again the diary stayed for me for more than ten years and that alone made me re-think my plan. My only worry is for my kids to find that piece of history and conclude that their mom was delusional and maarte, at best. For now, I am considering locking all my past diaries in airtight container. Then purposely lose the key (throw it at Pasig River, maybe?)

My only problem is that a hundred years from now, someone will get to read all its contents and conclude that the person who owned these journals were pyschotic or worse, had multiple personality disorders.