11 October 2015

Reader Under The Spotlight - Hope

Today I would like to introduce you to Hope. 

Hello! I'm Hope, an American living in beautiful Izmir, Turkey. We are on the Aegean Sea on the western coast of Turkey. I am currently a stay-at-home mom to my 8 year old daughter, but was a certified public accountant in the US before I eloped with my Turkish husband, went to Turkey on our honeymoon and came back (a) pregnant and (b) in love with the country.

Several years later and many winding turns, I find myself living here, in a country that does not really have a concept of a planner or organizer. Everything must be imported, brought back from the US in my suitcase, or downloaded as a printable. I have gotten good at making lemonade out of lemons and re-purposing things when necessary. 

A planner is definitely necessary as I'm managing not just my life, my daughter's schedule (not your average 3rd grader's), but also my husband and his home in the US as he finishes his PhD. It's a three ring circus!

1. When did you buy your first organiser and what was it?

It was a simulated leather classic binder from Franklin Quest.  Black, because I didn't want Bordeaux.  It was Fall 1986 and I was a sophmore in college.  When I saw the Franklin Quest system I was in love.  I think it was my first online purchase!

2. What other brands have you used or considered using?

I've used DayTimer, Filofax, and Van der Spek.  I haven't really considered others.

3. Out of the organisers you own which is your current favourite (Style and Size)?

I can't move out of my standard (personal) black VDS Touch Me.  The feel, the function, the rings - it's just perfect.

4. How many Filofax or other brands of organisers do you own?

Oh geez - now let me think....

          3 Filofax Deskfaxes, black (an awesome binder that should be brought back!)
          1 Filofax Kensington, black, personal size
          1 Filofax Finsbury, raspberry, personal size
          1 Franklin Covey classic zip binder, brown leather and microfiber
          1 DayTimer Malibu classic/desk binder, plum
          1 Filofax Malden, ochre, A5
          1 VDS custom binder, Janet Leather #104, personal size
          1 VDS Touch Me, black, personal size
          1 Filofax Malden, ochre, personal size

          Total: 11  (Yikes!  I didn't realize I had so many!)

5. What is the oldest organiser in your collection?

The Franklin Covey binder.  I think I bought it in 1995.  It has 50mm (2") rings!

6. What do you use your organisers for?
  • One Deskfax is my household reference binder.  
  • One Deskfax is in the process of becoming my reading binder 
  • The black Touch Me is my calendar/planner/list holder
  • The A5 Malden is holding 2016 inserts from Inkwell Press which I will use for personal project planning (as in, me time stuff).
  • The Finsbury is used for "on deck" pages awaiting placement in my Touch Me
  • The personal Malden is used as my wallet at times.  I go back and forth on whether I like using a Filo as a wallet.
  • The rest are in the wings.  I'm trying to decide to sell some but I just can't do it.  
7. How many sections do you have in your organiser and what is each section used for?

Household reference Deskfax:  I have sections for bills in the US, service providers in the US (like gas, electric, internet), bills in Turkey, service providers in Turkey, a section for shopping with master lists, etc., and menu planning.
Reading binder - books read, books on the Kindle, real books in Turkey, real books in the US, my daughter's book inventory, homeschooling books, and a section for my long neglected blog that I might revive, one day.

Calendar/Planner/Lists: no real sections except a divider with blank paper and lists.  Lots of lists.  I had an A-Z reference that just added bulk.  I took it out last month and am waiting to see what my real needs are.   My calendar is DIYFish.  I have a pull-out horizontal month and DO2P that look very much like my original Franklin Covey pages from nearly 30 years ago.  I also have yearly inserts for forward planning.
A5 Malden - Project planning - no sections yet, just monthly and weekly calendars.  
8. What was the feature about Filofax you like most?

The leathers, the colors, the pockets!

9. If you could design your own Filofax what would it feature?

Big rings - 30mm in personal size.  Big back pocket, lots of card slots, a zipped pocket, secretarial pocket

10. How do you carry your Filofax?

In my bag - no babying, no fussing.  My poor personal Malden 

11. Which Filofax in the current range do you like the most? Are you going to buy it?

I had to go look at the current range to answer this.  I have become disillusioned with Filofax, especially in the US.  If I was to buy one, though, I would buy the Original Special Edition Union Jack - personal size.  Adorable!

12. What is the most you have ever spent on a Filofax or other brand of organiser? Which model?

My custom VDS.  I don't remember how much it was in total, but the custom fees alone were breathtaking.  

13. What's your favourite Filofax tip or hack?                             

I am a big fan of taking very stiff plastic (I use card cases) and cutting it to size for dividers and dashboards.  Also makes very good page lifters.  If you use card case plastic and cut your dashboard such that you keep the two sides together, you can make a pocket to insert pretty paper or photos for a changeable dashboard.  

14. Turning to Philofaxy, what do you like the most?

The community - reading the Experienced Users and Reader Under The Spotlight.  Learning from everyone else in the discussions in the Free For All days.  Watching the AdSpot, availing myself of free inserts.  Basically - everything!

15. And what do you not like about Philofaxy?

Seriously?  What's not to like?

16. What was the last music track you downloaded or bought?

"Count on Me" by Bruno Mars.  I had to learn it for a school production last year.  (I'm also a CELTA qualified teacher of English as a foreign language and taught 1st - 8th grade last year.)

17. Have you ever attended a Philofaxy meet-up? if not do you intend to one day?

Unfortunately, no - but I continue to dream!

18. What was the last movie you watched?

Something on the airplane - Pacific Rim?

19. What was the last book you read?

Go Set A Watchman by Harper Lee.  I know it's controversial, but I'm originally from the South in the US and it describes the world my parents grew up in perfectly.  I recognize Atticus Finch in my grandfather. 

Thank you Bex.

As you know we are always looking for new people to appear in our 'Reader Under Spotlight feature, you don't have to be 'well known' or a long term user to be considered to appear in this 'spot'.

So please contact Steve philofaxy at gmail dot com today. Thank you.


  1. Replies
    1. 😜 I'm often called Paige, so Bex doesn't phase me.

  2. Nice to meet you. 2" rings! If it's the Monarch size, I think mine is still alive. Wow, blast from the past.

    1. Nice to meet you! It's actually a Classic, which is why I can't let it go. Perfect 2" rings?! They just don't make them like that anymore. It's also why I struggle do between A5 and the American 7 ring system. I have a beautiful binder, but it's rings aren't configured for A5 inserts.

  3. No concept of planners or organisers in Turkey? Now there's a market waiting to be tapped......

    Hope, what is it that makes you disillusioned with Filofax right now? If, like me, it's the design and quality of the binders, there are plenty of second hand binders always available via Ebay, including many which could rightly be described as 'vintage' (a very over-used word these days, usually just as a substitute for 'old'). Worth checking out.