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Reviews, Writing

Review: Paper-Oh Circulo & Puro

The folks at Paper-Oh and I have recently crossed paths, and they were kind enough to send over a couple of their notebooks for review. Each of Paper-Oh’s designs come in various styles and sizes, and you can even choose whether you want your journal to be lined or unlined. The best part? While I knew the notebooks were coming, I had no idea what style, color, or design they would each have—and I was pleased when I finally got them.

I was sent the Circulo (red and black) and the Puro (plum)—two journals whose only commonality was their size. The two of them are so different that it would be unfair to pick a favorite. I find myself alternating between both of them depending on my mood and depending on what I want to do. The Circulo I received was unlined, making it my go-to for doodling and writing when I don’t feel like being confined to a certain space. The Puro was lined, and thus I ended up using it for to-do lists, poetry, and my occasional ramblings. (Note: the Puro has a tasteful embellishment on the cover whereas the Circulo’s red cover was created with a mechanized hole-punch and overlaid onto black.)

And while both of the designs are unique to the journals, there’s something even more unique about the Paper-Oh brand: included with each journal is a versatile bookmark that comes with directions showing how the bookmark can be used in two different styles. Since I had two journals, I decided to try each of the style options. For the Puro, I chose to stick it onto the back of the side and have it fold into the pages. This works well for this notebook 1. because of the style and 2. because the color of the bookmark flawlessly matches the color of the journal.

It was hard to use the bookmark that way for the Circulo, being that it has the magnetic flap that closes on the front cover and the bookmark is a plain red. I did, however, use the provided bookmark as a regular bookmark. Not only does it hold up well, but it works perfectly for the Circulo’s style and still manages to fit in with the look and feel of this journal.

I have to give praise for the binding, too. Paper-Oh seems to have managed to do something that I’ve seen a lot of other notebooks attempt to do: paper with a stitched binding and a cover that lays flat, no matter what page you open to, and never pops off the bottom of the table. Something I find frustrating about many notebooks is that the corner laying against the edge of the table will push the rest of the notebook up, leaving my arm at an awkward angle to write with. But that doesn’t happen with the Paper-Oh notebooks.

Come to find out, after a brief discussion with Wade over at Paper-Oh, Nadine Werner was key and responsible for Paper-Oh’s lay-flat binding, ensuring that all the components (binding, scoring, covers) worked together to allow the binding to lay flat against a surface. It seemed most important with designs like the Circulo (pictured) and the Quadro (which can be seen on Paper-Oh’s website); the binding and scoring had to work, but the pattern also had to stay consistent. I must say, they did a fantastic job—and that’s coming from both an appearance perspective and a functionality perspective.

Speaking specifically to the Puro, I love the inclusion of the pocket in the back. It reminds me vaguely of the pocket in the Moleskine. While it seems like the pocket would fit well in the Circulo, since there’s the extra security of the magnetic flap and less risk of things falling out, Paper-Oh’s intentions were to keep each design unique and they achieved that very well.

I love the quality of the paper, too. I’m a sucker for good stationary, and the paper in the journals is smooth and easy to write on. Why? Because it’s double-pressed, ensuring that it’s as smooth as it can possibly be. Unfortunately, my journal collection has largely outgrown my pen collection and I don’t feel that I have enough of a variety to test the paper in these journals with different types of pens. That being said, I have spent a couple weeks testing the limits of these journals—various script, doodling, etc.—and the pages have held up pretty well.

My only concern, despite the paper’s feel and durability, is that it’s easy to see through to the ink that’s on the other side. This isn’t as big an issue as it could be—I haven’t had anything bleed through yet—but not everyone likes to see one side of the paper from the opposite side. I know many who prefer to have no show, but I also know many (myself included) who don’t really care as long as it doesn’t bleed profusely through the pages. And so far, nothing has bled anywhere in the Paper-Oh notebooks.

All in all, I’m highly satisfied with both of them and have already considered tracking down more to buy. Both of these will definitely get used up, so I’ll have to get more somehow. Unfortunately, they aren’t available for purchase on the Paper-Oh website, so I suppose I’ll have to make a trip to visit a friend in the City just to buy more.

**The Circulo and Puro were provided free-of-charge by Paper-Oh for the purpose of this review and without monetary compensation for completing said review. I reviewed these journals honestly and without bias—purely because of my love for notebooks—to give you the most well-rounded perspective of these products.**
Reviews, Writing

Review: Potter Style Writer’s Block Journal

When I picked the Potter Style Writer’s Block journal up off the shelf at Barnes & Noble, it was the only one of its kind there. There was no other journal centered around a pun, no other journal that looked like a small piece of wood. I stood there staring at it—wondering if I really needed another journal. And I didn’t. But it was unique to the shelves, and I couldn’t put it back down. Continue reading “Review: Potter Style Writer’s Block Journal”

Musings

When Life Pauses, the Ideas Flow

It’s ten o’clock at night and I’m staring at a screen, staring at the things that I want to write—but nothing’s coming to me because I know there are things that I have to write, and they’re clouding my mind. And on top of all those things are classes, a job, money, food, cleaning, laundry, showering…. The list goes on. It never stops.

Sometimes, though, it’s kind enough to slow down or even pause. Continue reading “When Life Pauses, the Ideas Flow”

Musings

Taking An Unintended Hiatus

I’ve been slacking lately—not in school work or my jobs, but in general enjoyment. I’ve been slacking when it comes to taking care of my mental health, and I’ve been forgetting that my blog even exists. (I know, I know. How could a writer ever forget their blog, right?) It’s been three months since my unintended last post. Continue reading “Taking An Unintended Hiatus”

College, Writing

I Wanted a Life of ‘Professional Writing’

Over the last two and a half years, one of the most common questions I’ve been asked on campus is, “What exactly to do Pro. Writing majors do?”

Well, I can tell you this: we certainly don’t learn how to stare out the window and write the next Great American Novel. Most of our nights are filled with writer’s block, procrastination, and endless amounts of coffee. At Champlain, a lot of our focus is placed on our futures: where do we see ourselves in five years? What do we really want to do with our lives? Continue reading “I Wanted a Life of ‘Professional Writing’”

Musings

Three Weeks Away From the 2016 Election

We’re on the verge of a pivotal election. It’s momentous, and it’s dangerous. Each candidate brings different risks to the table, risks that could change our country entirely in the matter of four years. And, as my first opportunity to vote, I’m not too thrilled. Continue reading “Three Weeks Away From the 2016 Election”

Poems?, Travel Writing

Canoeing on the Lamoille River

Not once had I been canoeing before. My first time out was an eight mile trip downriver, with a thirty-minute pause on an island to do some writing. There were some bumps along the way, getting caught on rocks and currents—not to mention my friend and I weren’t strong enough to fight back against the wind. Continue reading “Canoeing on the Lamoille River”

Poems?, Writing

“Happy” Poetry Isn’t as Easy as It Looks

I used to read love poems quite often when I was in the early stages of becoming a writer. They’re like the introductory section of a textbook. Simple, yet sweet, using basic literary devices in a way that’s easy to comprehend. It’s what everyone writes first. And that, in and of itself, is the problem. Continue reading ““Happy” Poetry Isn’t as Easy as It Looks”

Musings

Why Petitions Aren’t Enough Anymore

Trigger warning: rape

The Brock Turner case was a giant mess of victim-blaming and white privilege. The rapist got off on an easy sentence because he was an athlete and the judge thought “jail would be too hard” for him. But now, all the outrage, all the activist statements, have fizzled out of the media. Remember the petition going around to recall Judge Persky? It’s still in existence, and it’s been months since it was started. Continue reading “Why Petitions Aren’t Enough Anymore”

Musings

My Second Article is Live

And it feels kind of great. I’ve only got two followers so far, but friends (and people I don’t even know) are sharing my pieces. I feel honored.

The topic I’m writing about is important, and there’s only so much traffic it’ll get after being posted on a blog. The Odyssey publishes to a wider audience. Hopefully as I gain more of a following, more people will start seeing my work. Continue reading “My Second Article is Live”

Musings

When Opportunity Knocks

Writing opportunities don’t come around that often when we’re younger and unpublished. Many of us, myself included, are responsible for tracking down what we want and shoveling our work into the mouths of literary magazine after literary magazine. So what happens when you’re offered an unpaid writing gig that requires one new piece of material each week?

You go for it. Continue reading “When Opportunity Knocks”

Editing

Let’s Talk About Revision

By this point in your life, I’m sure you’ve heard people tell you that reading your work out loud is important. Re-read it three times before submitting it. Have someone else read it over; maybe they’ll catch an error you didn’t. As tedious as it all is, there’s an advantage to these suggestions: a solid, well-revised piece of work. But what does that actually look like? Continue reading “Let’s Talk About Revision”

It's a Process

Submitting to Lit Mags and the Anxiousness That Comes With It

“You should be submitting your work.” “Make a name for yourself.” “If you get rejected, at least you tried.” You’ll hear variations of these statements in any writing course you take. Why? Because it’s important. Not everyone is cut out to be a novelist and not everyone wants to be. Literary magazines are the perfect place for shorter pieces of work (poems, essays, creative non-fiction) and you can find a place for any genre you’re into. But no matter who you are, where you submit to, or what you write, you’re always guaranteed one thing: anxiousness. Continue reading “Submitting to Lit Mags and the Anxiousness That Comes With It”

Musings

Bottled Up Faerie Dust

There’s a store in Downtown Burlington called Spirit Dancer. The entire place is filled with stones and gems and faerie dust and crystals. Walking in, you catch a whiff of lavender coming from the right side of the store. Glass cases by the counter and in the middle of the store have expensive jewelry and $100 quartz crystals locked inside. All the stones and gems are in dishes along the wall, each with their own meaning and price. There are pendants and bracelets, zodiacs and birthstones, cage necklaces and crystal skulls. It’s entrancing, peaceful, and reminds me of my grandmother. Continue reading “Bottled Up Faerie Dust”