Choosing a New Journal

Notebooks 3

Notebook brands (from left to right): Markings by C.R. Gibson, Moleskine, and Bonnie Marcus & Co.

Sometimes choosing a new notebook (I only used the word “journal” in the title so no one would accidentally come here looking for laptop advice) takes a while. I weigh what I want: spiral back? Decorative cover, or something more subdued? Plain pages? Lined or unlined?

Other times, I know what I want as soon as I see it.

This is why I buy so many notebooks. I never know which one will be right for which moment. It’s also why I like to have things across a wide range of possibilities. Sometimes I need a paper adventure, something different from my usual style.

This past weekend, I was quite sick. (Crohn’s, in one of those occasional horrible flares.) Coming out of that, I might want to focus on work, or wrap myself up in something soothingly blank, but I don’t think that’s what I need. What I need is that verse on the leftmost journal. And maybe some other verses, too, but that’s a good place to start.

It’s not the notebook I had planned to use. I was all geared up for a ribbon bookmark. But when I saw that verse, something inside me said, “That one.”

Notebook PagesSo the new notebook begins, with a lace-filigree topped page. There are worse ways.


Madeleine Cookie Tasting Spree

It seems right that after my angel food cake spree, I should move on to something sort of similar: madeleines, pretty much the cakiest cookie I can think of.

I tried five different brands: Starbucks, Donsuemor (sold at Peet’s), Sugar Bowl Bakery, Archer Farms, and Trader Joe’s. With madeleines, there doesn’t seem to be as huge a gap as there was with angel food cake. But one thing I did notice: Sugar Bowl and Archer Farms both have more calories per cookie. Basically they’re two cookies packed into one.

That may be why they also seem thicker to me, breadier. I prefer the slightly lighter madeleines, so my winners are…


Trader Joe’s and Starbucks, in a tie. I might like the taste of the Starbucks ones slightly better, but they’re also almost twice as expensive as the Trader Joe’s ones. (The Trader Joe’s ones cost a little more per package, but seriously–twice as many cookies.) Note: the Trader Joe’s ones do tend to stick together a bit, and if you want that distinction between crisper edges and softer center, it’s better to go with madeleines that look more browned. The Starbucks ones seem to be more consistent.

It definitely helps that in both these cases, the calories are low enough that I can eat two or three before I stop. Madeleines aren’t exactly a low-calorie food. But at least with my winners, I can snack (a bit) more responsibly.