Friday, August 31, 2012

Cupcake Friday 08.31.2012 - Caramel Fluff

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Caramel Fluff cupcake what is it, you ask?  Iced gems makes their Caramel Fluff cupcake with: a chocolate cupcake with chocolate chips, a bit of caramel and marshmallow fluff inside the cupcake.  So I really wanted to love this cupcake, but with all the candy components, i felt that this cupcake was just too sweet-- tasted almost like a hostess ho ho cupcake.  and that my friends, is not a cupcake i like.  So, sadly this is my only foray into this cupcake and will also be my last.  Doesnt it look pretty in the pictures though?

Daily Arsenal 08.31.2012

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Thursday, August 30, 2012

Daily Arsenal 08.30.2012

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Pentel Energel in 0.5mm blue, pilot plumix with  Pelikan Edelstein Turmaline ink.  One very work appropriate.. and 1 not so work appropriate ink.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Levenger Circa Planner Review

Back in July or was it June, I wanted yet another circa cover -- and for some reason Sara's tweets persuaded me to go and get the circa planner -- why not?  the year was half over, the planners were being sold for 5$ and I would then get the cover and circa discs that i wanted.  Win-win situation here!  So upon getting the planner, I sorta putt-putted with it --- kind of using it some days, then again not others.  And then I started seeing study participants again, having multiple places to be, multiple dragon boat practices to attend... and basically a scheduling nightmare happened.  

Out came the circa planner -- I dont recall if it came with a "Today" tab, but it doesnt matter since I replaced it with an ARC ruler that has sticky notes attached.   

My 18 month planner has a textured clear plastic cover sheet with a blue flyleaf.   As the planner gets used, the blue flyleaf color fades.  I've gotten a few scratches on the cover, but as the cover is semi-clear it doesnt hinder it much.  The agenda came with 3/4" circa discs that i've continued to use.  

planner front cover flyleaf

The nice thing about the circa system is that you can move things around to your delight and in addition, you can always add things to your binder  (ie, I've added a pocket, printed some things from philofaxy (calendar at a year, etc)  and added my weekly meal planners)

There are a couple of sections to the planner, first there's the personal info section.  Now i've cut this off since mine is filled out and I dont want you to know all my details so its just the spot with my name. 

personal page

The next section shows a year at a glance for 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014.  So since i got this in 2012, its 1 years past, the current year, and 2 years forward.  Its nice if you want to plan future vacations, etc.  

year at a glance - calendars

There are several varieties of how the planner is laid out, but the one i have is week at a glance, so basically its the week broken up over 2 pages.   I dont know if you can see but the space for Saturday and Sunday (the weekend) is the same as all the other days of the week.  The space for the weekend is just as large as the rest of the week which is nice for me because my weekends are just as packed as my weekdays.  

At the bottom of the right hand page is a month back, current month and a month forward -- nice planning feature. Each day there are a couple of lines so that you can write your day's tasks and there's a grey section to the right of the date for you to check off when you've completed the day's task.  I dont use my planner this way since I use it to track my to do's in detail and use a outline method for each part of a task -- so this part isnt so useful for me.  There is also a day counter and a week counter which counts the number of days that have passed and the number of weeks that have gone past (I dont use these features either but i guess it is nice to have)  The ARC system by Staples is an affordable alternative to the more expensive Levenger items, however, some of the expense is made up when stylistically the calendar format works for you.  I do however get my accessories from Staples sometimes.  Like this page divider that i have in here that has all the post it flags -- the Arc system version is way cheaper than the levenger version.

IMG_1419 calendars at bottom   week

The next section of the planner has a section that allows for you to note birthdays and anniversaries (important dates).  I've not used this section, as i typically put those dates into the actual planner section (weekly section) of my planner.  Then the next section is a yearly planner -- this is for projects and vacations etc.  Again i dont use this section but i suppose to some people this would be useful.  After the yearly planner is a section for international dialing codes -- useful, but not used much in my case.  

bday anniversary yearly planner IMG_1427

The paper is 100 gsm (per Levenger's website) and is fountain paper friendly.  I did a couple of tests and there was no bleed through, no feathering, though there was some show through with my pelikan.  Ink dries pretty quickly on the paper and writing on the planner is smooth and the ink just glides.  

writing sample back page writing sample writing samples

Now, what have _I_ done with the planner?  I went ahead and added a pocket (bought this from Levenger -- but i believe the ARC system has them as well but not as colorful).  In addition, see the square piece of metal?  This is actually the backing from a product that I got from threebythree in Seattle.  They sell these "mighty magnets" 12 come per container of magnets, and they are packaged in a small square plastic box.  The 12 magnets are placed into the plastic box and have a small steel plate behind it.  I've actually attached some magnets to the inside of the planner.  This allows me to have a place to store some papers without the pocket.  Originally there was no pocket, so this is a bit superfluous now but was useful a couple of weeks ago when i  didnt have a folder pocket to put things in.

back fly leaf back cover magnets! magnet back IMG_1430 back page folder insert w magnet

What's nice with the Levenger system?

  • I can order my planner to start from any month
  • There is a variety of planner styles i can choose from -- behance system, day at a glance, etc.

What features do i wish were in the levenger system?

  • What I do miss is the month at a glance where the month would be on 2 pages -- its helpful when im putting in due dates, and other things like that -- if you purchase the levenger system you would have to buy that insert separately.  
  • a pocket or somehow to stash papers or things that i want to keep before i hole punch it that comes with the planner rather than having to purchase a separate set

Daily Arsenal 08.29.2012

Jetstream 1.0mm in black and Zebra Sarsa stick in 0.3 blue-black oh... and a bunch of slides that i'm trying to match up with data points... 1 box down 3 to go :(

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Monday, August 27, 2012

Nomadic Tote Update

So, you asked for it... here it is :)

I recently reviewed the Nomadic Tote, and after reading someone asked if laptops fit into the Nomadic tote and they were hesitant to purchase and wanted to see if I had ever tried to put in a laptop... the answer was no.. but now, I tried it just for them and yep it does surely fit my laptop.. yes the zipper does close, but I decided not to close it so that you could see what i was able to place into the tote bag.  Now, with a 15 inch macbook pro, the tote would be relatively heavy and maybe not as easily totable around but still doable i guess.
Below are the items i put into my nomadic tote:
  • 1/2 in binder
  • coach wallet (checkbook size)
  • levenger circa jr planner
  • my 15 inch macbook pro with power cord and mouse
  • my phone
  • a nomadic pencil case stuffed to the gills with pens, pencils, etc.

So the above 2 right hand pictures show the laptop in the bag along with the nomadic pencil case, binder and the planner.  The cellphone, wallet, mouse and power brick were stashed in separate pockets.

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so yep everything does fit.  You could potentially use a slightly thicker planner/binder but as I could only find a 1/2 in binder at the house that is what i used.   The wallet, I put into one of the interior pockets that is accessible from the top of the tote.  The bag has no padding for the laptop, so I dont know that I would use it for a laptop but it is definitely usable to stash a 15in MacBook Pro.  If you were to use a laptop sleeve,I am unsure the laptop would fit into the tote. 

Where to Purchase?

Daily Arsenal 08.27.2012

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Friday, August 24, 2012

Cupcake Friday 08.24.2012

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Raspberry Amaretto - Almond Cupcake with a raspberry filling and an almond flavored butter cream.

Yep it is as good as it looks.  I found the icing to be a bit much mostly because the raspberry jam was already sweet, but the flavoring is good.  The cupcake is lightly almond flavored and with every bite you get a little bit of the raspberry jam.

Daily Arsenal 08.24.2012

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"#dailyarsenal working on reconciling waivers for the db festival" 

We (my dragonboat team) are going to a dragon boat festival on Saturday.  I'm currently at work, reconciling all the waivers and verifying that we have everyone's waiver for the 3 teams we have going this weekend at National Harbor.  

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Daily Arsenal 08.22.2012

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Levenger Circa Portable Punch Review

I ordered this because it was part of a sale where if i bought a jr starter (or was it the letter?) set i would get the hole punch free.  Hey I sorta need one at work, and I can always use another circa cover right?  so off i went with my credit card and ordered it.  And then it showed up...


what the heck?  how does this work, I asked myself.  Oh well delve into other goodies first!  I got a set of the Levenger Garden Variety Set paperclips, a Rhodia Meeting Pad and a circa agenda on clearance.  After a couple of weeks of it just sitting around (in my defense I got this package the day before my wedding) I finally decided to open the levenger portable punch and investigate its workings.  Read the directions, got confused... read the directions a 2nd time and decided to experiment.


Thought I was going crazy with the punch.  Ok i finally figured it out.. took a lot of trial and error (ok maybe i'm just challenged with this punch or something..)  The portable punch comes in 2 pieces, a guide/rule and the hole punching section.

The Rule
The Punch
What's nice about the punch is that its usable for all different sizes.  There is a guide on rule part of the punch that allows for you to line up your paper sizes (Letter, Junior, compact and 3x5 card).  In addition, the punch is locked in place when not in use by a lock catch.  (See below right) Sliding the locking mechanism to the left releases the punch for use.  This allows for the punch to be more portable. 

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Up to 3 piece of paper is inserted in the rule/guide section and is lined up with the appropriate size that you want.  Then the ruler section of the guide is flipped back so that the punch can actually be used.  

Basically the punch is lined up at pre-determined intervals based on the rule/guide's notches.

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The paper is punched and the punched paper is held in a reservoir in the punch.  The paper is then able to be inserted into circa discs directly from the punch or you can do as i typically do and take the paper out of the punch and insert where ever you want to in your already bound notebook. 

Do I like the punch?  Yep, totally nice to have.  I am able to take this punch to and from the house to work or even to leave at work.  It is packable in a small enough space that it does not take up a lot of room on my desk.  Now that I've figured out how it works its great to have.  What I do wish is that somehow its easier to line up the pieces of paper -- as I place paper in the rule section, it covers up the guides as to what sized paper I am using -- and this wouldnt be a huge deal but I am slightly OCD about all the papers in my binder being lined up exactly alike and if its off slightly it would drive me nuts.  I typically keep the portable punch at work so that I have something to use when I am punching small amounts of paper.  3 sheets is really the max this portable punch can do at one time -- the guide holds the paper in place using magnets and the magnet really wont allow for more than 3 sheets of paper at a time.  

Where to Purchase?

Other Reviews

  • Juridack (youtube video about Circa in general)

Jelly Belly Factory..

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"Ben Franklin made of jelly bellies!"
One of my college friends got married this past weekend.. so we made a weekend of it and since we were staying in Fairfield I got to go to the Jelly Belly factory for some Belly Flops and the tour at the factory.   As usual, you guys on twitter were right It was rather loud.. I could hardly hear myself yelling to my friends but the upside?  I got lots of free jelly belly samples (ok maybe not free since it ended up with me buying candy but..)  It was a fun tour, I would totally do it again - but since you cant take pictures inside the factory -- all you guys get is this.  A picture of Ben Franklin, made of Jelly Belly jellybeans.
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