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Blog: Paper Doll, Tackling The Stacks And Piles
An Organized Hybrid: The Evernote Smart Notebook By Moleskine

Reese's Peanut Butter Cups "Two great tastes that taste great together."

Toyota Prius combines an internal combustion engine with an electric motor

Zedonk a cross between a zebra and any other equine

A hybrid takes two things that exist perfectly well independently and combines them to make something altogether more fabulous. Today, we'll look at how two great product brands have united to create something fascinating: The Evernote Smart Notebook By Moleskine.


It was the original little black book, made of moleskin (a thick, cotton fabric with a shaved pile surface). In the 19th and 20th centuries, artists like Matisse, van Gogh and Picasso sketched and painted in them, and authors who couldn't have been more disparate in writing style or personality, from Oscar Wilde to Ernest Hemingway, scribbled their stories in them. Back then, the notebooks were black, handmade by French bookbinders, and, while utilitarian, represented a kind of artistic chic. The notebooks were for creative geniuses on-the-go.

In the 1980s, it was reported that, "Le vrai Moleskine n'est plus" ("The real Moleskine is no more") and bookbinders had ceased fashioning them, but in 1997 the product was reborn via a Milanese parent company under the Moleskine brand. A strong marketing campaign and a passion for the ever-expanding line of notebooks made, and makes, Moleskine cool for hipsters and soccer moms, alike.

The features are basic, but beloved: luxurious covers, high-quality acid-free paper, narrow grosgrain ribbon bookmarks and color-matching elastics to keep everything together. Moleskine has followers every bit as passionate and devoted as Apple's fanboys (and fangirls). Bloggers show off their notebooks and creative doodlings, as at SkineArt, and share their secrets, such as Freelance Switch's noted The Monster Collection of Moleskine Tips, Tricks and Hacks post.

The collections include the original notebooks -- ruled and unruled, with interior pockets and without, with squared or rounded edges -- diary-like journals, tabbed "Passion" journals (to log one's favorite books, films, restaurants, recipes, wines, travel locales, etc.), memo books and address books.

For creative types whose muses delight with other than words, there are sketchbooks, watercolor notebooks, music notebooks, and storyboard books.

There are even limited-edition collections, with design themes including Peanuts, The Little Prince, LEGO and Star Wars.

Moleskine feeds the addiction for a sensory experience only paper can provide.


Evernote: It's a service. It's an app. (It's two mints in one!) It's almost an independent nation of global citizens, given that it has ambassadors (including friend of Paper Doll, Brandie Kajino). You probably either use it, or you wonder, "What's the big deal?"

For the uninitiated, at its most basic, Evernote allows you to take digital things, collect them, and organize them. Anything you save, like a Paper Doll blog post, can be a note. Notes combine into notebooks (like how you have Excel worksheets within workbooks), and all are kept safely within your account, synced across all of your computers and digital devices.

You may wonder why you need Evernote -- can't you just use a bookmark in your browser? Ah, but have you ever clicked on an old bookmark or favorite to find the link you'd preserved yields a disappointing 404 Error message, meaning the page you wanted no longer exists? Evernote doesn't just preserve the link -- it preserves the entire page or document, along with comments, tags and anything else you wish to keep.

The Basics

Install Evernote, create your account and put a little "clipper" in your browser bar -- it works much like Pinterest's "Pin" bookmarklet to speedily grab what you want and tuck it away. Any time you want to save something digital, you can just click on the clipper bookmarklet and up pops a window to walk you through your options.

For example, at some point in the not-too-distant past, I went to Evernote's page for getting started, and clicked on the clipper, bringing up a little window, as you see below.

Evernote selects a default title for your note; adjust it as you see fit. Add your tags, select in which notebook (for any of your various themes or projects) you wish the note saved, and add comments or stray thoughts. You can save an entire page, or highlight just one section for faster and more accurate "clipping" of web material (to skip ads and extraneous text or photos). And, of course, you can opt to save the original URL.

Beyond Baby Steps

Evernote saves much more than web sites and text. Instead of using your clipper, log in to your Evernote account and click "New Note" from the main page or within any of your already-created notebooks.

Above, the left column represents my various notebooks and tags; the center column shows previews of various clippings (i.e., notes) and the right column provides a place to create a more complex note, with formatting. Let's say you have a brilliant idea for a blog post, or a wedding toast, or your packing list for an upcoming trip. Instead of scribbling it down on a random floozy, lock it up on Evernote.

Once in your account, you can drag-and-drop images from your desktop, files, and web pages. For convenience, you can also drag images directly onto any specific notebook (without having created a detailed note) or, for Mac users, directly onto the Evernote icon in your Dock. And it's not just text and pictures. Record audio and move the .MP3 file to a notebook. Save videos, too. And tweets! Then combine them all in the way that works best for you.

Bing, bang, boom. Your "stuff" is saved to the cloud and synced across all of your devices. Better yet, it's searchable, so between the native text of what you've saved and the keywords you create, you have your own private search engine to find what you want, when you want it, no matter how long ago you clipped or created it, accessible from anywhere in the world.

Now What?

Evernote has myriad uses. I save product reviews, news stories and articles that may be useful for Paper Doll posts and my Best Results for Busy People newsletter, as well as for current and future articles and books I'm writing. A recent discussion on the NAPO email chat found that my colleagues are using Evernote for various professional and personal solutions, including:
  • Notes, statistics and ideas for presentations and workshops
  • Titles of books, movies and other entertainment to check out later
  • Household data, like battery sizes, light bulb wattages and air filter dimensions
  • Organizing solutions for particular clients or situations
  • Grocery lists (shared across devices with family members who can access them while shopping)
  • Collated travel information and directions to use while on vacation or attending conferences
  • Party planning and menu ideas, including recipes, organized by meal or ethnicity of cuisine
This is just a smattering of options -- Evernote has a video library of tutorials and suggestions for ways to maximize its use. Evernote continues to expand its interactivity with other apps. Draw or hand-write with a stylus on your iPad or tablet in Skitch and Evernote saves it (and even translates handwriting to text). Save news and articles to read later via Pocket (formerly Read It Later) or InstaPaper. Study for exams (or your Jeopardy audition) by creating study notebooks with Peek, and record (with permission) phone calls with CallTrunk.

Evernote is free at the basic level. For $5/month or $45/year, the Premium level grants the ability to upload up to 1 GB each month (handy for photos and lots of files) and have individual files of up to 50 MB. You can also view historical versions of files, take notebooks offline for when you lack web access, collaborate across accounts, hide promotional language, and more.


The Evernote Smart Notebook By Moleskine combines the advanced technology of Evernote with the sensory delight of a Moleskine notebook.

Paper notebooks are tangible and concrete. Digitizing provides accessibility, navigation, searchability and a different kind of permanence. What if you could combine the two? What if you could scribble down your thoughts on paper in your own quirky handwriting, then record, modify, and preserve them forever? Now, you can.

The Evernote Smart Notebook by Moleskine lets you create naturally, then use Evernote's handwriting recognition and search capability to turn your scribbles and scratches into symbols of your brilliance. (Haven't you always wanted a way to digitally search through piles of handwritten notes to find the paragraph or phrase you needed?)

Affix Smart Stickers to automatically add digital tags to your notes -- kind of like built-in QR codes, to take information from paper to the cloud.

Just write in your notebook, and when you're done, the Page Camera feature inside Evernote on iOS (on your iPhone or iPad -- Android access is still-to-come) recognizes the tiny, square stickers, adds tags to the digital note, optimizes it and files it into a selected folder in your Evernote Digital memory.

Getting Started

Pick one of two sizes: the 240-page Large (5" x 8 1/4") notebook for $24.95 or the 195-page Pocket (3 1/2" x 5 1/2") notebook for $29.95. Both come with black hardcovers, green elastic bands and four sheets of Smart Stickers (tucked in the back pocket).

Then select your paper preference: a gridded pattern (like graph paper) or (dotted) ruled paper. You can use pencil or pen, though dark pens will yield the clearest digital results.

Each Evernote Smart Notebook purchase includes a complimentary subscription to Evernote Premium for three months, so your next step is to sign up for your Premium Digital account...and start creating.

This isn't the first nifty blending of paper and technology. There's the LiveScribe Echo and Pulse smart pens, which digitally record text written on special notepads and contemporaneous audio. But the Evernote Smart Notebook by Moleskine combines two products you either already use (or would enjoy using) in a stylish, magical and far more affordable manner. It's prettier than a Zedonk and less expensive than a Prius.

Of course, it's no Reese's Peanut Butter Cup...but then, what is?

posted on: 10/2/2012 10:30:00 AM by Julie Bestry
category: Paper

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Discuss This Post

by Janine Adams on 10/9/2012 8:18:10 AM:

Julie, I hadn't heard about the Evernote Smart Notebook by Moleskin. I"m so glad to know about it. What I really wanted to say here is that I think your explanation of Evernote is one of the best I've read. I'll point others to your post when I'm trying to explain Evernote to them. Thank you!

by Julie Bestry (Paper Doll) on 10/9/2012 10:51:28 AM:

Thanks, Janine. For the longest time, I "kinda-sorta" knew what Evernote was, but didn't quite have a feel for it on a grander scale. I'm a big believer that the best way to learn something is to be able to teach it, so I really appreciate you saying that.

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Paper Doll, Tackling The Stacks And Piles

by Julie Bestry

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Julie Bestry, President of Best Results Organizing in Chattanooga, TN, is a Certified Professional Organizer®, speaker and author. Julie helps overwhelmed individuals and businesses save time and money, reduce stress and increase productivity through new organizational skills and systems.

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