It’s been a number of weeks since I received my shipment of Paper-Oh Notebooks on my doorstep and I couldn’t be more pleased.* As a writer, I’ve found that I am most successful and motivated when I have two things: a good pen and a good notebook. Okay, three things: a good cup of coffee or tea goes a long way. My point is, I start almost every project by handwriting it before it goes to the computer or typewriter (yup, I still use a typewriter!). In the past, I’ve tried everything from Moleskines and Legal Pads to using envelopes and napkins (cliche, right?). In the end, it really doesn’t matter what you’re writing on as long as you’re writing. But it doesn’t hurt to have a great notebook. I have only ever used one Paper-Oh notebook in the past and unfortunately, it got ruined before I got the chance to use it completely (cats just love knocking over glasses of liquids…). Thanks to a connection over Instagram, I was able to procure 5 wonderful notebooks from Paper-Oh to not only do a review of their products but also to start a month-long writing challenge, the Press All Your Flowers Writing Challenge (head over to my Instagram @thescienceofluck if you’re interested in finding out more or reading some of the poetry!).
To say I’m pleased with these notebooks would be an understatement; the details and craftsmanship of Paper-Oh notebooks allow me to satisfy my indulgent need to have beautiful notebooks without breaking the bank or looking atrociously gaudy. I received 5 different notebooks in 4 styles and here I want to give a simple rundown of what I loved about them, what I’m using them for and why you should look into Paper-Oh the next time you’re on the hunt for a solid notebook!
The notebooks I received were:
- The Circulo– Size: A6; Cover: blue on grey; Interior: lined
- The Quadro – Size: B6; Cover: black on red; Interior: lined
- The Yuko-Ori – Size: A5; Cover: pearl white; Interior: lined
- 2 Sets of The Cahier – Size A4; Cover: Ondulo black and Circulo gray on black; Interior: Grid
Why I’ve Fallen in Love with Paper-Oh Notebooks
Overall the functionality of these notebooks is what struck me the most. I’m a sucker for notebooks that are easy to carry with me and even easier to use. The Circulo (pictured above) and the Quadro are both small enough to fit in my purse or even in my Hobo clutch! I love the international sizing options because it makes it easier for a consumer, who isn’t able to hold the product in hand, to know exactly what size they’re ordering online. These notebooks also came with paper bookmarks that you adhere wherever you please inside the notebook. My preference is at the top, but I appreciate the simple customization option. I’ve used Moleskines in the past with their fabric bookmarks and my cats always manage to tear them out or they snag inside my purse and backpack.
The other feature I love is the magnet enclosures. These keep the edges of my paper from getting marked up or crinkled when I have them jostling around in my backpack all day as I travel from one job to the next. They’re simple and elegant without compromising function. I currently am using the Quadro for my #PressAllYourFlowers Writing Challenge and the size has been perfect for my poetry and drafts! I did select the lined option for these notebooks because as a writer, that interior is the most optimal. However, they do offer grid and blank interiors for many of their notebooks!
As a teacher, I constantly am on the search for a notebook for lesson planning or notes. The Cahier from Paper-Oh has become my go-to planning notebook for a cornucopia (yup, I wouldn’t be an English teacher if I didn’t pontificate occasionally… oops, did I do it again?) of reasons. First of all, these notebooks LAY FLAT! You read that right, they lay flat. With their Smyth sewn binding, the Cahier notebooks are durable and can withstand the constant use and still lay flat on your surface while you work. Though I typically go for lined interiors, I decided to try the grid out for these notebooks and found that it was perfect for sectioning off pages for my planning and notes. Not to mention, it makes my to-do lists and tracking so much easier and cleaner!
Besides, functionality these notebooks are also gorgeous pieces of art. Like I mentioned earlier, I’m not a fan of over-the-top notebooks with flashy images or rhinestones (you know what I’m talking about…), however, the textures of the Paper-Oh collections have me rethinking my dedication to solid color, smooth notebooks. The dual-color, simple textures and patterns of all the notebooks not only provide some much-needed style into my life, but they are not over-stated and maintain the feel of luxury and durability. They’re probably the most photogenic notebooks I’ve ever come across (see pictures for evidence).
Potential Drawbacks… but why they really aren’t
I’ve spent a while thinking about issues that may come up with these notebooks as I continue to work them into my daily life and writing routines, whether that be in the classroom, at work, or in my personal writing. I have come up with a few potential drawbacks to some of these notebooks, and yet for me personally they aren’t really negatives.
All of the notebooks I receive lack a pocket. Now, I’ve grown accustomed to the paper expanding pocket in the back of Moleskine notebooks and seeing that there wasn’t one in any of the Paper-Oh notebooks, I was initially disappointed. This feeling quickly evaporated. When I look through the contents of those little pockets in my other notebooks, I discover pretty quickly that they’re filled with receipts, scraps of writing and other bits of paper or business cards that have been tucked in there for safe-keeping. The problem, for me anyway, was that I never revisited those pockets. The bits of writing were typically not all that great, and if they were worthwhile they had already been transcribed INSIDE the notebook. The receipts were useless (as they usually are) and if I hadn’t looked at the other scraps or business cards within the last four months, I probably wasn’t going to in the near or far future. My point is, if I don’t have a pocket available, I’m not going to be shoving it full of useless crap that I’ll never look at again. My notebooks will then stay cleaner, more organized and I’m forced to be more thoughtful about what I keep and what I discard. Also, I believe that Paper-Oh may have other notebooks that do have pockets, just not the ones I received.
The second and only other negative I found was no pagination in the notebooks. Again, this really isn’t a negative for me but I recognize that some individuals really like having page numbers. I don’t, personally, because I’m more of a note-taker and scribbler than a journaler if that makes sense. I constantly pull pages out of notebooks or go back and forth adding to pages if I have similar ideas or tangents, and there usually is no clear order to the writing I put into bound notebooks. When I do have a notebook with page numbers, I find myself to be a bit uneasy at the prospect of messing up or taking anything out of the notebook. That isn’t how I like to operate. So, for me, no page numbers is actually a positive.
Honestly, I couldn’t be happier with these notebooks. The Quadro has been a perfect home for my writing challenges and it has been a unique experience dedicating one notebook to one writing project because in the past my work has sort of been intermingled in many notebooks over different spans of time. I also love having larger notebooks to use for lesson planning or work notes when the smaller notebooks just aren’t going to be enough space. If you’re looking for some new notebooks whether it’s for a personal journal, work notes, planning for your new business or blog, or lesson planning, I highly recommend checking out some of Paper-Oh’s collections. Not only are their notebooks beautiful, but their team is incredibly helpful and responsive creating an incredible experience for their customers.
If you’re curious about any of my notebooks or the company, feel free to reach out or leave a comment. I’d also love to hear about your favorite Paper-Oh notebooks and what you use them for!
*This was not a paid sponsorship by Paper-Oh.
**Photos by myself and Micheal Hancuff