Tag Archives: Levenger Circa

Review: Levenger Circa Sliver Inside Out Notebook

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I love the thin and light style of the Levenger Circa Sliver notebooks. They provide a sleek professional look to your Circa that doesn’t take up valuable disc space or add precious weight and bulk to your notebook. But while I love my Cocoa-colored Sliver cover with pockets, I was jonesing for some brighter colors. So when Levenger came out with the new Sliver Inside Out covers, I had to try one!! I was so impatient I even bought it from Amazon so I could have it in two days (thank you Amazon Prime!!!).

I also needed some new Circa zippered pouches, so jumped on a pack of those too. They arrived without the usual fancy Levenger packaging, just in a sealed plastic envelopes.

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First impression? This blue is WAY prettier than I thought it would be in person!

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The back cover.

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The Inside Out Sliver Notebook is called such because it is intended to be reversible – you can use either the colored side, or the black textured side. As a result, there is no Levenger embossing or other marks that would ordinarily denote one side over the other.

The blue side has a faint texture and pretty robin’s egg blue color – not just blue, a little greenish/turquoise tint to it.

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The black side has a more obvious texture pattern – I personally don’t like it as much as the colored side, so won’t be reversing it very often I don’t think.

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The Circa Sliver Inside Out Notebook comes with standard black plastic 3/4″ discs and Levenger’s Annotated Ruled refills. Although it doesn’t have pockets, or an elastic band closure, or a pen loop, it does have the same slim and trim style I love. Here it is compared to the Sliver Cover with Pockets version with 1/2″ discs.

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Showing that both Sliver covers have the same thickness.

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I like this blue color so much now, I might need to snag a purple when it gets discontinued. I really think these new slimline covers are a unique and highly desirable line of notebooks – I really hope they come out in some fun BRIGHT colors (WITH POCKETS and elastic loop Levenger, PLEASE!??) – like orange, or fuschia, or lime green. Something bright and fun to go with the Vivacious tab dividers and file folders. What do you say Levenger?

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My Work Circa Revisited

Back in December I posted about my Levenger Circa notebook I used for work. It’s been a few months, and I thought I’d post an update about what I’m still using.

First of all, for the past couple of months I’ve been in love with my Circa Smooth Sliver Cover. It’s professional looking, sleek and slim, and has pockets and a pen loop (which = awesome). But, like is inevitable for me, every once in awhile I have the urge for more color. So just today switched back to my clear plastic cover and decided I still really liked the colors in my custom coversheet I posted about previously. Look how well it matches my Lamy Al-Star fountain pens!

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I have switched out the discs to my now discontinued 3/4″ Plum Aluminum Discs, preferring the darker purple to the Caribbean purple of my last post.

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The back cover is just an old Levenger Circa beige cover I kept around.

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A big change I’ve made since my last update is to get rid of my tab dividers. As it turns out, I just didn’t use them very often. I still have sections, but now I get to them via page finders.

My first section consists of my monthly calendars. Last time I posted I was using a printable I’d found on Etsy, but since then I’ve released the Pretty Pretty Planner in letter size and am in love with it.

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I’m using these adhesive Girl of All Work tabs for each month – they complement my Pretty Pretty Planner colors really well.

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After my monthly pages are the weekly “Business Week – M-F” letter-size pages, which works really well for my work needs, where I need to track project time by the hour. I use a Circa page finder to mark my current week, and then as every week passes, just move the page around to the other side of the page finder, rather than move the page finder each time.

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After the weekly pages I keep a year-on-two-pages calendar I developed (also available for download under the DIY Templates page).

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Instead of a tab divider, I move on to my blank pages I use for my daily work notes/brain dump/project log. I use a Levenger Circa Top Tab page finder with post-it sticky notes as my page finder for this section (I explain how I made it here).

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I just date each day’s new notes on both sides of the page chronologically, moving the page around my page finder each day as it fills up. By using page finders, I really don’t miss the tab dividers at all. Anything I want to punch and keep as reference I just put in the very back after my empty refill pages. The pages are the now-discontinued reticle-grid Circa Vivacious refills.

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So that’s my work planner! I really love it, it’s working for me so well now – I’m sure I will eventually go back to my Smooth Sliver Cover, but for now, this gives me the Springtime color I need. It just makes me happy to look at it.

Review: Levenger SmartPlanner Agenda

A couple of months ago I had the opportunity to review the Levenger True Writer Select fountain pen, which I really enjoyed. Levenger was also generous enough to send me the SmartPlanner agenda system to review as well. So I started testing out the Levenger SmartPlanner letter-size agenda as my work planner, and thought I’d see if it could woo me away from my own Pretty Pretty Planner printables. After a few weeks in steady rotation, here are my impressions.

First of all, I really like the color and design of the SmartPlanner. If you’ve followed Levenger’s products for awhile, you know that before the SmartPlanner came out, their planners and refills were all monochromatic and boring. Case in point – this one. And this one. Annnnnd this one. Also, did I mention, this one? Levenger desperately needed to add some color and style to their planners.

So when I saw the SmartPlanner, I instantly liked the color scheme – soft, muted pastels that meshed perfectly with dividing tabs (also these) and pocket folders that are already staples in the Circa Accessories line.

First impressions, the planner is hefty! I expected that given it is letter-sized, but with the larger 1″ discs and all the weekly refills it’s definitely not purse-sized. But it’s a great size for a planner that stays on the desk all day. You can get a SmartPlanner assembled with discs and cover, or just the refills separately. I was sent the assembled SmartPlanner.

The front and back views are shown here:

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Levenger SmartPlanner Agenda – Front Cover

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Levenger SmartPlanner Agenda – Back Cover

The monthly tabs are a nice copper orange-brown with a scripted white font for the month names.

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Levenger SmartPlanner Agenda – Side View

The normal inside coversheet has space for contact information.

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The first couple of pages provide space for personal/reference information, and an introduction to the SmartPlanner system, as well as yearly calendars.

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The Monthly Pages

Each monthly tab page has a light orange shaded sheet on the reverse side.

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The month-on-two-pages layout is roomy and spacious, with orange shading on the bottom half of each daily box. The 100 gsm paper is a hefty weight, and feels thick and substantial to the touch. Of course I tested it out with all my inked fountain pens and even some Sharpies and brush pens. Because of the shading on the back of these tabs there is minimal showthrough. Only with the heavy broad/thick nibbed pens and Sharpies could you see any signs of what was written on the other side.

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Levenger SmartPlanner Agenda – Monthly View

The Weekly Pages

The weekly pages followed each monthly tab set. The left side page has boxes for the days of the week, and the right side page has sections for weekly goals, daily todo’s, and notes. I like the layout in general, although from a data flow perspective would rather have the pages reversed – plan out the weekly goals and todo’s on the first page, and then from there have the daily boxes on the next page. Also, how awesome does my lime green Lamy Safari look with these copper orange colors??

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Levenger SmartPlanner Agenda – Weekly View

The paper quality, as with the monthly tabs, is actually pretty decent. I went at it with fountain pens, markers, Sharpies, even a WATERBRUSH (the palm tree sketch). The waterbrush caused some bleedthrough as was expected – the paper wasn’t quite THAT hardy. But the rest of the fountain pen writing didn’t have much showthrough. Here is the reverse side of the left side of the weekly layout above.

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And the reverse side of the right side of the weekly layout above. The markers have some spots of bleedthrough, with the worst offender being the Bic Permanent Marker.

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The SmartPlanner “App” System

So, here’s the metaphorical fly in the ointment for me. When I introduce the system to others. I can praise the monthly and weekly layout, the colors, the style – but then I always get asked, “But, what are these APP things?” So I have to awkwardly explain that the “Apps” are complementary add-on activity sheets you can get to supplement the SmartPlanner, such as to-do lists, meeting notes, etc.

But honestly, when I first saw the SmartPlanner was released, I was really excited – until I saw the “Apps” – then my reaction was pretty much like this:

Just … REALLY? I’m sorry – I love you guys, but you just can’t name add-ons “apps” – it’s a PAPER PLANNER, that’s not how this works!

That all being said, I got over my issue with the name quickly enough, mostly because the SmartPlanner Apps are just as nicely designed and colorful and coordinated as the main SmartPlanner. Along with the SmartPlanner Levenger also sent me the LTG 7-App Sampler Pack. Each “app” pad has 25 sheets and is made with 100gsm paper.

The “LTG 7-App Pack” is named so because it contains three LIST “apps” (To-Do, Take-With Lists, and Keep & Share Notes), one TASK “app” (Meeting Notes), and three GO “apps” (Travel Tamer, Ideation Station, and Doodler). I myself didn’t have an immediate work use for all of these apps right now, but took lots of pics to show them in their full-size glory.
1. To Do app
From the Levenger website: “Five color blocks give you more manageability—make one long list or five different ones, for daily or recurring tasks. Each color block can be for a different kind of To Do—work, home, fitness, and so on. Or assign different colors to various family or team members. With a column for prioritizing, plus a date and check-off box for marking progress.”

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2. Take-With Lists app (perforated)
From the Levenger website: “Vertically perforated sheets mean you can keep separate lists for work and home, or for different projects. Keep these multiple lists in your Master Agenda till you’re ready to perf and take with.”

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3. Keep & Share Notes app (semi-perforated)
From the Levenger website: “A delegator’s dream: give the perf’d side of the color block (5 per sheet) to the doer, and keep a record of your directions on the other. Or make it the traffic manager for items you lend, with a note to whom and when on the Keep side and a gentle reminder about returning on the Share side. You can also use the two sides independently, jotting flashes of inspiration on the Keep sheets and making notes to yourself on the Share sheets. (Place them where they’re most likely to jog your memory.) Let this app do the work for your memory, which you can put to better use.

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4. Meeting Notes app
From the Levenger website: “This app helps you turn notes into useful references and action points. On the front, use separate sections for concepts, key points and action steps.  On the back, use the ruled white sheet for taking longer notes. A pagination line keeps track of multiple pages on the same topic.”

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5. Travel Tamer app
From the Levenger website: “Consolidate info for each trip onto one simple sheet—flights on front; hotels, cars and sights on back. Use completed sheets as reference for repeat trips. They’re also a helpful record for expense

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6. Ideation Station app
From the Levenger website: “Find a creative solution to a problem using different words to connect concepts. The Ideation Station app adapts the effective method that Todd Henry, the author of The Accidental Creative, has designed for starting with a challenge and ending up with possible—and often surprising—solutions. You can do all this on one sheet of paper (take some with you on the plane).

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7. Doodler app
From the Levenger website: “Soft colors and different shapes (vertical blocks on back) just may help you doodle your way to ingenious new thoughts. Not a doodler? Use as a sketch pad or to jot notes.”

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Conclusions

I really enjoyed testing out the Levenger SmartPlanner Agenda – many thanks to Levenger for the opportunity to see if it’d work for my work Circa. I became a fan of the overall look and style of the SmartPlanner – the soft colors, the tabs, everything looks fantastic! And overall the agenda, like everything Levenger, screams high quality. That all being said, since I was testing this planner out for my work Circa, the horizontal weekly layout just wasn’t fitting my needs. In my job, I do a lot of database testing, and keep track of my time on various projects by the hour. So while I don’t have many pre-scheduled appointments, a vertical weekly planner layout serves my needs much better than the horizontal daily boxes of the SmartPlanner. So I’ve passed it on to my husband who is really excited to give it a shot for his work planning needs. I really hope that in the future, Levenger expands its layout to incorporate other formats – I’d love to see a vertical layout in the same SmartPlanner style.

DIY Circa Sketchbook Follow-Up

I posted back in October about creating a watercolor sketchbook in a discbound format, and thought ‘d show how it currently looks.

I’m still using clear plastic front and back covers as in my previous post, but in the interest of an even slimmer and more portable sketchbook, swapped out the pretty 3/4″ Spectra discs for the plain but smaller 1/2″ discs. I’ve added a matching black adhesive Leuctthurm1917 pen loop. The coversheet is from the now-defunct Office Depot Revolution brand notebooks.

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My DIY Discbound Sketchbook

Side view:

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Open layout:

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Another view:

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All in all, still very pleased with how it turned out, but now its even more purse-friendly!

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Personal Planner Update

Just checking in on where I am with my personal planner. I’d been going back and forth about whether I wanted a weekly layout still or not, as I’d go weeks without filling in the days with anything and then feeling guilty about leaving them blank. I also tried a “big boxes” version (also available for download on the Pretty Pretty Planner‘s page), with more space and less boxes, but really missed the extra pop of color the box titles provided. So back to the default Junior-size Pretty Pretty Planner layout.

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Pretty Pretty Planner, Junior Size

Really enjoying playing with some stickers some friends sent me.

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Pretty Pretty Planner

LOVE these star stickers! Found at the Dollar Tree. They’re so sparkly!

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Pretty Pretty Planner

Puffy stickers for the win!!

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I just am really pleased with the colors of this planner, it makes me happy every time I look at it.

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Pretty Pretty Planner

Review: Levenger Circa Vivacious Notebooks with “CrossDots” Paper

I am a huge fan of Levenger’s Circa notebooks, but not necessarily their refill paper. The standard annotation ruled refills are not known for being fountain pen friendly, and in the past have often had significant feathering and showthrough. It got to the point where I started making my own refills, not only because of the price savings but also because I could ensure the paper quality was better. I’ve heard its changed for the better since then, but I’m still working on some old refills so haven’t tried anything newer yet.

Levenger did come out with some Rhodia paper (in both Circa notebooks and refill sets), which made fountain pen users super happy, as Rhodia has been the gold-standard in quality paper. It’s amazingly smooth paper, silky soft and perfect for all inks. My own issue was that the ruled lines were a dark purple, which I personally find distracting, so I gave away the rest of my refills.

Recently though I’ve been hearing good things about the Circa Vivacious “CrossDots” notebooks and refill paper, how it was an amazing cross-dot pattern and super fountain pen friendly at 100 gsm. Sadly I think it’s been discontinued, as its been listed in the Levenger Outlet page for awhile now and supplies seem to be dwindling. It’s also available on Amazon, in Letter and Junior size notebooks.

So after getting a 20% off and free shipping coupon for Levenger recently, the price of the CrossDots notebooks was too good to pass up, I had to check them out. I ordered a couple of Junior size notebooks. First impressions: what fun colors these notebooks come in!! There are ruled (orange cover), grid/ruled combo (blue cover), and crossdots (green cover) versions.

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Levenger Circa Vivacious Notebook

What isn’t immediately obvious is that the covers of the notebook are clear plastic, with lime green coversheets in a thick cardstock behind them.

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Levenger Circa Vivacious Notebook

The inside of the green coversheets are a brilliant orange.

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Levenger Circa Vivacious Notebook

The back cover has a built-in pocket. It’s a nice feature, but a little too loose for the little things I threw in it as a test – they fell out pretty easily.

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Levenger Circa Vivacious Notebook

And the paper! No bleeding, feathering, showthrough, anything. It’s perfect with every pen i threw at it. I was also worried that the green crossdots pattern would be distracting, ala the Rhodia refill. But it is actually a refreshing pop of color – I’m really surprised how much I like it.

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Levenger Circa Vivacious Notebook

And the green crossdots match my Pretty Pretty Planner pages perfectly!! It was meant to be.

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Levenger Circa Vivacious CrossDots Paper and Pretty Pretty Planner

I then realized as soon as I got the Junior size notebooks what a good thing I’d found, and immediately ordered another couple in Letter size while the getting was still good. That way I can enjoy the paper in both my Junior planner and Letter size work notebooks.

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Levenger Circa Vivacious Notebooks

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Levenger Circa Vivacious Notebooks

And these colors remind me of summer!! I’m so ready to leave winter behind!

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Levenger Circa Vivacious Notebooks and Lamy Safari Fountain Pens

Review: Levenger Circa Smooth Sliver Notebook with Pockets

Awhile ago I posted about the Junior-Size Levenger Circa Smooth Sliver notebook I bought from eBay and how much I enjoyed it. I liked it so much in fact, when Levenger had a sale recently I had to grab a letter-size notebook for my work planner. The letter-size version of the Levenger Circa Sliver Cover with Pockets is just as great as its smaller version, and now I have a matching pair! Here are the unboxing pics!
First of all, I was surprised to see that Levenger wasn’t shipping the notebook in their usual boxes with cloth covers anymore. All the other notebooks I’ve bought from them have come packaged that way, but instead, it was shipped in a plastic shrinkwrapped bag. Once unwrapped, I was able to see this luscious Cocoa colored notebook.

The Levenger Circa Sliver Notebook with Pockets in Cocoa
The back cover:

The Levenger Circa Sliver Notebook with Pockets in Cocoa
The most important benefit this notebook cover offers is how incredibly thin and light it is! It takes up virtually no room on the discs compared to other covers..

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I was also really impressed to see a new informational sheet on the inside of the notebook – titled “Levenger Tips for Effective Note-taking”. Yes, it’s a lot of tips I’ve heard before, but I still thought it was kind of cool to see the handwriting and tips.

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Levenger also includes tip sheets on how to remove covers and pages safely too. The company does a great job at educating its customers on the Circa system and how to use it effectively.

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The notebook came with Levenger’s standard annotation ruled refills. While in the past I’ve not been overly impressed with the paper quality of their standard refills, there is no feathering or bleedthrough on these pages that I’ve seen.

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The back of my sample page:

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All in all, I strongly believe the notebook would be improved with a pen loop, and in a perfect world, an elastic strap closure. But its the closest cover I’ve found yet to the clear plastic covers I love. I can easily fold it over on itself (my major requirement), it doesn’t take any room whatsoever on the discs (my second requirement) and it comes in more than boring black! I was actually really torn between getting the letter size in Cocoa to match the Junior, or the Navy Blue. I literally put each in and out of my shopping cart several times before finally deciding on the Cocoa. It seemed the most business-friendly, would go with most of my aluminum disc colors, and is a nice rich brown. I definitely recommend

Shown here in Letter-size with my “plum” aluminum discs, and in Junior-size with “caribbean” aluminum discs. And my Rebecca Moss fountain pen.

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The Levenger Circa Sliver Notebook with Pockets (in Cocoa)

*Edited to add: I do not work for Levenger, just like their products. I do not get items free to review. Everything on my blog I’ve purchased myself, much to my wallet’s despair.*