Sometimes at SF Bay Style, an idea or product will intrigue a few of us. Such was the case when the opportunity was presented to review these stylish planners by San Francisco based Sarah Pinto. Two writers looking at functionality from two very different points of view.
Samantha: I am sensory. I need to see and touch my way though the day, which is why although I begrudgingly share a Google Calendar with my husband, I need to have a datebook with me at all times. Easy as it may seem, it is actually quite difficult to find one that fits my life in an efficient and user friendly way, not to mention is aesthetically pleasing. I have no doubt that my routine, while the details may vary, is not much different than many other parents I know.
My schedule consists of board meetings, freelance projects, cooperative preschool, carpooling to and volunteering at my older son's FreeSchool, homeschooling them both on the four other days they are not in school and participating in the myriad of activities that community offers, seminars and conferences, and events of friends and family. It was with this thought that I took the opportunity to review a datebook by a mother of two from San Francisco, who apparently had the same problem. After searching high and low for a datebook to fit her needs, she decided to create one herself, and the results are classic, eco-conscious, and well thought out.
The structure is simple enough: ample room for notes, full month calendars, weeks laid out with space for to-do lists, and sections for special days, future planning, and an address book. It is this simplicity, and the lack of any unnecessary extras, that sells the product. Of course I like that they are printed on recycled paper with soy based ink right here in San Francisco, and that I am supporting another mom (who has an important cause her business is dedicated to, no less). I have tended in the past to be attracted to datebooks that have artwork, poetry and quotations scattered about for inspiration, but the reality is often these additions can be distracting to me.
While I have not been able to use the planner yet ( I have the 2009 edition), I think it will work well with my needs. It took a little time for me to get used to the idea of all the months-at-a-glance together instead of the more common insertion of a monthly calendar before each week-at-a-glance of the same month, but perhaps this will make it easier to find. The only thing I would add, which is an easy fix, is some sort of bookmark for the current week so I do not have to spend time flipping through.
The size is fantastic (5x7), small enough to fit in a purse or small messenger bag without taking up a lot of space but large enough to write in without needing a magnifying glass to read it. And my green Lattice design on the outside feels a little modern with a dash of exotic design. Well done, Sarah Pinto.
Moya: Every December I pop into a local office supply shop and buy a new pocket datebook, mystified by the fact that there is never a stylish option. I always settle for the same black "Timemaster" and wonder why we organized types can't have more fun while we plan our days. Well, 2009 will be different with my Sarah Pinto Weekly Planner.
Moya:I'm a single working gal, holding down a full-time day job while building my freelance writing business on the side. I am scheduling deadlines, events, appointments, interviews, and special dates with my partner, family, and friends. I like to keep track of all that with good old-fashioned paper and pen. No PDAs for me, thank you. Inside the front of my new periwinkle blue datebook (with a brown horseshoe on the cover - love that!) are several lined pages for notes and a monthly calender, which is handy when I need to see the whole month at a glance. The "To Do" column on the side is a good spot to list projects for that particular month. The day-to-day section is laid out nicely, with plenty of open space for notes, although I would like to have lines, to prevent sloppy writing. The back has a generous section for Future Planning notes and Telephone/Addresses.
Like Samantha, I have to have my datebook with me and for that reason I do wish this was slightly smaller. My boring black ones are 3X6 and fit perfectly into any purse I might carry for the day. But I like that this is eco-conscious and simple, balancing professionalism with style. The fact that it is locally made is a big plus, as I'm on a personal quest to buy only U.S. made products. A little attached bookmark would be helpful and a pocket on the inside front cover would be great too. But these are minor quibbles.
On the whole, SFBaystyle recommends these stylish datebooks, which sell for $25, with a portion of the proceeds going to CPMC Pediatric Cardiology. www.sarahpinto.com