One fun side effect of planning a wedding—and spending a truly insane amount of money on envelopes—is that I now get catalogs from Paper Source, a shop that I never really thought much about before unless I needed a birthday card or maybe some wrapping paper. I feel like most people don't really think about Paper Source all that much, so let me drop some knowledge on you: Paper Source is everything. And it's not just this one store that I've fallen hard for. We're living in the age of peak paper goods.
My theory is that journals and planners have followed the same pop cultural trajectory as eyeglasses. Before the ubiquity of contact lenses, people wore glasses because they had to, so generally people thought glasses were lame. As soon as glasses became functionally unnecessary, they became just another accessory through which people expressed their personalities. (And that's how we got hipsters, for better or worse.) Now that your smartphone is all the calendar you need, notepads and planners are about designed to be, essentially, fashion items that you happen to write on.
And while fall fashion doesn't hit in a big way until September, right now is when all the lovely new notebooks and agendas are coming out, just in time for back-to-school. It's almost enticing enough to make us wish we were heading back to class—almost.
Illustrator Anna Bond of Rifle Paper Co. has created an adorable empire out of her sweet, slightly vintage florals, millennials can't get enough of the colorful, quirky designs of Ban.do, and even Kate Spade has gotten in the stationery game, adding her signature stripes and gold polka dots to folders, notebooks and more. Nothing makes my girly heart beat faster than her bow-shaped paper clips, and I can't even imagine how or when I'd use a paper clip.
Of course there's always a classic Moleskine if you want to look literary, or the simple, super-saturated colors of designer-fave line Poppin. And these aren't just found at stationery stores, they've made their way into boutiques and other lifestyle destinations like Anthropologie.
For something with a little local cred, I'm a fan of notebooks and stationery from May Designs. Founded by designer Mica May in Houston and now based in Austin, these sweet little notebooks come in hundreds of patterns and can be customized with your name or initials (or slogan) on the cover in any color or font, plus your choice of paper inside, from simple graph paper to weekly agendas to a pregnancy journal. They've been one of Oprah's favorite things, and this summer May Designs collaborated with Houston lifestyle blogger Ashley Rose of Sugar & Cloth for a handful of notebook designs as bright and fun as the now-famous Sugar & Cloth Color Wall.
If a pink notebook with gold foil cacti that reads "good vibes" doesn't brighten your day, I don't know what will. (I'd try cookies though.) Making a to-do list has never been this fun.