20 July 2011

Philofaxy Mini Mid West Meet Up - 16 July 2011

SNARL wrote this ditty about the Midwest Meetup held in Chicago on 16 July 2011. She regrets that she forgot to take pictures, but skhen took what pictures she herself remembered to take. A Filofax sharing frenzy ensued. Sandra’s take on the matter follows SNARL’S illustrative and entertaining narrative.

Finally--we were going to Chicago to meet-up with some fellow Filo-users/lovers! Yay! I was bummed 2 people couldn't make it, but I really wanted to go to Chicago anyway. If I were lucky and could stretch out the kid, maybe we'd go to the art museum, we'll see. So, on Friday I got everything ready including the mental prep necessary so that the kid would be on his best behaviour. I tried really hard to do as much morning stuff as I could - set the coffee maker on timer, put away all the dishes, shower, double check to make sure I had everything, go to bed early. I had to make sure I was organized before my day trip to meet up with a bunch of organizers, so I checked everything again. I made it to bed around 12.30-ish, which is pretty good for me.

I woke up super early thinking I smelled the coffee, and I patted myself on the back for that. Of course, those were all brain power thoughts as the coffee didn't fly on auto pilot on account of operator error - forgot to check the actual TIME of the coffee maker. 7.26. PM. Heh heh. Nice one SNARLing. But the rest of the morning was ok and we were out the door by 7.28. I wanted to leave at 7. Google maps says it's 3 hours and 22 minutes away, but Chicago's an hour behind so I thought we were fine for a 10a meeting. Oh, but wait - forgot there are tolls. Should have gotten cash YESTERDAY arrghh! so had to make a quick run to the bank. 7.42 - off we go.

It was a pretty good drive. Milo had a new dvd to watch and oh yeah, right, I drive kinda fast. When we saw the Chicago skyline it was almost 10a Indy time. Cool. I was hoping to be a bit early as skhen said street parking – I’m not that familiar with Chicago, but when I was in Brooklyn, 10am on a Saturday is right on the cusp of finding good street parking. Then we got a "running late" text from skhen - I was like - but it's only 9-ish-but then remembered the four kids she has plus whatever drive time, so that was nice of her (editor’s note: 20 minutes-and I did text SNARL… ). And then, of course, immediately after I responded 'ok almost there', completely on cue from the heavens or from Hollywood, Milo threw up. Heh heh. Poor kid. Yeah, and mommy didn't bring any extra clothes just a hoodie, extra shoes and an umbrella in case it rained. I think he got car sick from my super fast driving (wha--?!) as he doesn't throw up very often. He was a really good sport about it all though and I was glad we had some extra time to clean up and stuff. Heh heh. Sorry kid, it's kinda funny.

Once we cleaned up and came out of the bathroom and looked at muffins, he was A-O-K. Milo wanted to sit outside so outside we went. It was great people watching. There were a lot of younger people wearing all black and a couple with purple or green hair so I thought maybe there must be a hair school close by. (I kinda want purple hair. Maybe for the 43rd I'll do that.) Oh, and a ton of dogs. I follow the URBAN SKETCHERS blog so I thought I should try and sketch a bit but it was nice to just sit there and relax with the kid in this town soaking it all in, drinking Caribou Coffee while he played with Buzz Lightyear with the pop-up wings.
FINALLY skhen arrived. Heh heh actually it wasn't much of a wait as it was nice and relaxing and we were enjoying it all. It was cool - TOTALLY like meeting an old friend whom I haven't seen in awhile. Chat chat chat, then little by little, things came out. I had decorated Altoids tins (Editor’s note: filled with goodies!) for little presents since one of the few times I was active on twitter (sorry - just not that into twitter that much but love you all anyway) I twitpic'd my drawer filled with a ton of these things and J asked what would I do with them and I said make gifts for you all - so sorry, J, you totally missed out! skhen seemed to like it so that's cool.

And man she's got a bunch of great stuff! She had a classic A5 in brown which is really quite nice. It has a nice worn in look and felt pretty dense. and the A5 bronze snake Domino is really pretty too. I just got a dark brown A5 snake Domino that I want to use for a happiness/art binder and was completely overwhelmed by its size when I got it so it was good to see some up and running A5 binders. It'll take me awhile to get used to it - I don't think I could use it for my daily planner but it really should be perfect for a journal/art book. We'll see. I also loved seeing her different use of the Malden.

It's interesting to see the same binder setup so differently than your own. It would be nice to have Malden innards for the Malden flickr pics. I'll have to take some this week (editors note: me too!) Anyway, the crimson is really nice, too. I'm almost tempted to get one (along with a bunch of others!), but right now I'm all about the Chameleon. Skhen had a bunch of Finsburies - at least one in every size. I love the Finsbury. I like the worn-in look it gets. She had this one that was supposedly raspberry but it was more magenta-ish than the mini raspberry she had. It was really nice to see and makes me think maybe I can allow more colour in my life. Well, maybe. If they make them compact, that is (osterley osterley osterley).

It was great seeing all these Filos. At one point, the Italian girl sitting behind us came up to us and I thought for sure she was going to ask us about our Filos, but no. She wanted to know the whereabouts of a grocery or something. Too bad for her. Milo was getting a bit antsy so we packed it up and went to the Kawaii store. So so so so Kawaii! It was hard to get Milo to let me look at things but, for the most part, I was able since I shouldn't be buying more stuff anyway. I was just glad to be there and looking at and touching things. So much nicer than shopping online! There was one thing, however, that I should have gotten but didn't: the blue kura toga pencil for @5.99.

Oh well. I was surprised that skhen was able to control herself like she did (editor’s note: FabFrugal no spend challenge—so I had to behave). Man, if I had one daughter, I would have totally gone crazy in there - let alone three daughters (and one ds, Graham)! Of course, Milo was antsy and hanging out with the breakables (sign to leave) so we walked skhen to her car to see four more Filos (!) a Finchley pocket, two more Finsbury personals (including the magenta-ish one that I loved) and an A5 in Fins pink.

Awesome. It just makes it all the more clearer that you really need to see these in person to get a feel for the different colours and styles. I wish we had Filofaxes at our local Staples like SOME people, but then it wouldn't be as much fun as meeting up with people like this. It was so cool meeting skhen for real (editor’s note: aw, thanks!). I wish we could have had more time to talk about planning and stuff like that (editor’s note: me too!) She was able to show me a quarter of the Women's Success Planner which looked a lot nicer than it does online. It's machine-made, yet hand-made-looking, flecked paper and the font and layout didn't bother me as much as I thought it would have - really nice and soothing, actually.

A final thought: I think it would be awesome to have a non-profit organization with an annual conference with seminars of tips and demos of new products and stuff. We could all meet annually and write it off tax wise. Skhen and I are going to look into it and let you know.

Hello, dear ones. SNARL and I met on Saturday in Chicago, Illinois, USA. We had two other Philofaxy fans that had to cancel at the last minute, and they were sorely missed, but there was no stopping this Filofax power duo. Well, trio--mini SNARL came along with his momma to the Windy City for the day.

We met at a Caribou Coffee at Maxwell and Halsted in the University Village neighborhood of Chicago. UIC (University of Illinois -Chicago) was a few blocks away, parking was ample, and the weather was mild (quite warm (85F/30C, humid, no rain). After grabbing a coffee and starting a good, chatty visit, SNARL pulled out a small gift for me! Such a lovely surprise. I felt quite guilty as I did not procure one for her, but I did share some extra goodies I had on hand and will send a thank you parcel shortly.

Buzz Lightyear made an essential appearance as well. Look at the tricked out Altoids tin! Woot! It was filled with goodies, but that is a topic for another post on my blog.

Tin scoping out the Malden stack. All eyes on our Beloveds.

An earlier stack attempt--but there were Filofaxes lurking about the meet up that have not yet graced us with their presence.

I had a difficult time deciding which Filofaxes to bring as to bring all would be a bit heavy in my backpack (seriously). So, I brought 2 A5s, a personal, a pocket, and a mini. I did bring the others to leave in the car if a Filofax emergency presented itself. At the end of our visit, SNARL did walk to my car as we said our goodbyes to see some additional Finsburies and a pocket Finchley. But I digress--back to the binders!

SNARL brought out so many lovely binders. She reminded me of a magician pulling a rabbit out of a hat: the Filofaxes and other journals just kept coming. I was most taken by the compact Chameleon in black. The small rings just looked so tidy and streamlined. Her orange pocket Finsbury was so cute, even though orange is not a color I gravitate to at all. She also brought a slim that I rather liked a bit. And then there was the Midori travel journal. I couldn't put that one down to take a picture. Total L-O-V-E with that one. And the Arc planner....*sigh*.

Love the profiles of happily stuffed Filofaxes!

Profile of Malden reunion

The final stack, minus the stowed Filofaxes I did not carry with me. From top to bottom: mini Fins, pocket Topaz (might be a slim?), pocket Fins, pocket Malden, slim Finsbury (I think?), compact Chameleon, personal Maldens, brown Snake Domino, Chocolate Classic, bronze Snake Domino.

We chatted and shared as long as the mini SNARL would tolerate and we next went to a small boutique called Kawaii Japanese Outlet. The store displayed lots of household goodies to peruse as well some neat stationery items. I bought a few things, but only what was needed in honor of the Frugal is Fabulous Challenge I am part of as led by CP and Imy. These minor purchases ($13.42 USD!) will appear in a future post on Miscellany of a Filofax Fanatic.

An adorable munchkin, mini SNARL, admiring The Stack. Start 'em young...

One purchase for my dh--a spice shaker for the travel camper.

Sadly, I had to scurry home at this point to my friend/babysitter before she totally lost her mind. I am so looking forward to future Meetups, here and elsewhere, as well as possible video conferencing at some point. And, I now have a friend (and a half--mini SNARL) in the bustling and exciting metropolis of Indianapolis, Indiana. SNARL insists there is "nothing to do there" with respect to stationery geekdom, so future Midwest Meetup locations are TBA. We both hope more Philofaxers can attend as it was even more fun than it looks. Thanks for reading!

Thank you both for a detailed write up. So those of you attending the London meet-up in September (myself included) you can see what we have to beat now... there are going to be some heavy bags I think!


  1. Yay I totally enjoyed reading this. The Filofaxes are amazing especially the orange Finsbury. I wonder if there is any other meet up where the pictures are of Filofaxes but not of people! Hehe.
    Thanks ladies :-)

  2. I thoroughly enjoyed reading both of these write-ups about the meet-up. I get goosebumps just looking at all the Filo's. Sooooo many...and just two people! I'm waiting for my third to come in the mail, so I'm still just a baby!

    Being quite new to the filofax/Philofaxy world, I'm not familiar with a lot of people on here, but I do have some geographical connections. First, as I posted last week in regards to CP, my husband is from Trinidad. Then, I was totally surprised to learn that there is another 'Hoosier' (a person from Indiana) on board! So yes, Snarl, I'm from Indy too. And you're right: no good Filofax stores. Have you tried Paradise Pens at keystone at the Crossing? I ordered a filo (slimline Adelphi-damsen) from Amazon, and Paradise Pens was the seller. Along with the organizer, they sent a very nice hand-written thank you note on good stationary, which I thought was nice, old -fashioned and quite classy touch. Haven't been there yet, but i'm going.
    So, nice 'meeting' you, fellow Hoosier!

  3. I'm from Indy too! Hoosiers unite!

  4. wow! so many hoosiers! whoda-thunk!

    kpreddie - i was on paradise pens' email list - they shut down about a month ago. something about not renewing their rent. they had a very small selection of classics, adelphis, finchelys and finsburies but i was able to see a couple of chameleons there before i bought the compact one. the one i kinda flirted with was the slimline pocket guilford. that one is kinda hard to come by but i didn't want to pay full price.

    the franklin covey in castleton also shut down. i was pissed since i dragged my kid up there (we live in garfield park) and there was a crocs store in its place--- wha=?! i mean there's papyrus or tate but they're just mall stores. dolphin is great but it's mostly art and book art supplies. you'd think there'd be a nice little ma and pa stationary store here somewhere...what part of indy are you from? we should hook up after you get your 3rd up and running and do a mini mini midwest meetup

  5. Yay! Why no pics of y'all tho??
    Any hoo! I must go get some Altoids (and dump the vile mints out) and trick them out! My kids would <3 those :) Can't wait to see what was inside..

    Oh, how I love love love the orange one!!AND wow, how pretty is the compact Cham?

    Glad y'all had fun :D

  6. I love the orange pocket Finsbury. Such fun!! And what a great write up. Milo looks such a little poppet too. Lovely that he shared the day with you both.

  7. Soooooooooo bummed I missed this!!! Stupid work and all...

  8. Glad you guys had a good time. It's always great to hear about other people's meet ups, especially after having experience one myself!