Thursday, August 06, 2009


you know you want this
who doesn't love a fresh, clean notebook just bursting with potential? especially if it's one of superior quality, with smooth, thick white pages and a hefty feel? while i'm way too old to be going "back to school", august and september always bring back memories of shopping for the perfect cadre of supplies to pack into my new l.l.bean book pack. i've since moved onto to cuter bags, but the allure of fresh paper remains.

many of the blogs i frequent host giveaways, particularly of the edible nature. i certainly post my share of FOOD PORN on this site, but culinary ventures are just one facet of ghost world. i think that if this blog has any sort of central tenet or theme, it's about balance and enjoying life and keepin' it together under a fairly high load of stress.

and as you may have seen, one of my main strategies is to implement careful planning and organization. i've shown a glimpse of my planner. i am not ashamed to admit that i also have multiple auxiliary notebooks in circulation at any one time. one for taking notes on academic things i read. another on patient info. one that i tear off pages of for shopping lists. and finally, a hodge-podge notebook with various lists of all kinds.

if you write it down, it can happen!

so why am i going on and on about this? because i decided that if i was going to host a giveaway, it needed to fit this blog nicely rather than just waving around a big box of granola bars (although i'm not saying i'll never do that in the future).

i wrote to exaclair, the company that makes several of my favorite brands of paper: clairefontaine, exacompta (the maker of my current planner), and rhodia. the vice president of marketing was gracious enough to send me a fantastic package of their wares -- let me tell you, it was like christmas in our house when this arrived. i also was excited and surprised to see ghost world featured on the official rhodia blog.

i luuuuuuv the assortment that she sent, and could probably have found a purpose for all of it. however, my stores of writing materials are starting to reach critical mass, and i can only hoard up to a point. so i am going to pass some of this lovely stationery onto you, the readers. i am sure you all can come up with many great ways to use these notebooks, from mapping out a running plan to USMLE-cramming.

clairefontaine loot: 2 clairefontaine "basic" notebooks, one green clothbound with 96 sheet, and a thinner 48-sheet staple bound version with soft tan cover. they are nice and simple looking with aesthetically pleasing round corners, but the best part is the supersmooth very white paper, which is milled in france. i hate see-through pages, and this will not be an issue with these.

rhodia collection: 2 lined rhodia notebooks with classic staple binding. the sheets tear off nicely and so are perfect for lists. the tiny one is extremely cute; i actually already have one and use it for writing out directions to places to bring with me in the car when i don't feel like using GPS.

and because i just think it's appropriate, i will throw in just a taste of orla:

blank orla kiely flip book served with a muji gel pen on the side

entering the giveaway
all you have to do to win this fabulous selection is to:

leave a comment on this post telling me what you would use these notebooks for


if you have a blog, please link to this giveaway!

i will randomly choose a winner on tuesday morning, august 8.

GOOD LUCK, and happy writing!



workout: 5 miles, including 5 x 1000m intervals. i can't give accurate splits because i stupidly left the auto-lap feature on and it messed up my data. let's just say the intervals were between 7:40/mi and 8:00/mi pace for the most part.

doin' time: the leftovers were plentiful from last night, so i couldn't justify making a whole other meal and letting them go to waste. so no cooking! but i do have another delicious lunch shot to share:

reading: about chest pain. i didn't get to do a teaching session, as i was in clinic in the AM and things just got busy in the afternoon. but i'll try to sneak it in today.


  1. atilla7:00 AM

    not enterring the giveaway sweeps but your lunch is so well color coordinated I couldn't help but comment

  2. Jenny8:01 AM

    I need these notebooks! I just started my second rotation of third year medical school, and I already have 2-3 "school" notebooks in circulation (plus my planer plus a marathon training log and a yoga journal, haha). However, they are all lame, cheap drugstore notebooks and this beautiful paper would make me so happy as I record scut lists and shelf exam study factoids. :)

  3. Rachel9:02 AM

    I would love these notebooks! Right now I'm trying to figure out what to do with my life during a gap year between undergrad and medical school. I have a list of cool things to do (mostly cool places to see) that I've crammed into the back of my planner, but it's getting way too big. I could use one notebook for collecting ideas and another notebook to bring with me while I backpack around the world!

    Thanks for the giveaway, and your laptop lunch looks incredible!

  4. I'm going to de-lurk (avid reader of yours for years!)for a second...I need those notebooks!! I'm entering my third year of law school, and my lists are taking over my life. I've got job contacts, grocery lists, to-do lists, recipes and homework assignments floating around in various dilapidated spiral-bounds, and I would loooove an elegant, efficient way to manage my list-compulsion.
    I wish I had a blog to link back's on one of my various to-do lists...

  5. Hannah9:37 AM

    I too am I huge note taking freak with a rather obscene number of planners and notebooks floating around.
    I'm starting my third year of undergrad and moving into my first apartment, so these notebooks would either go towards containing all the info in my biology lectures, making grocery lists (a personal favorite) or tracking my workouts as I train for the Chicago Marathon!
    Thanks for offering such a unique giveaway (not that I have anything against a box of bars, but notebooks are much more fun, in my opinion!)!!

  6. omgomgomg I LOOOOOVE notebooks and planners! I recently was made president of the graduate student dietetic association at my school and am in need of a notebook to devote to everything going on with the club. I'm also getting into my last year of my dietetics program, so I feel like I need a notebook to get organized with my master's project and internship applications. Whoever gets these notebooks is going to be so lucky!!!!

  7. Anonymous11:18 AM

    I would loveee those notebooks! I am starting to become more of a notebook user, especially for summarizing topics etc so I can refer to them later. I filled up a five-star one last term and it's an awesome reference.

  8. Tiffany11:54 AM

    Oooh I love making lists and staying organized like that too! I would definitely use these notebooks to keep a journal of my upcoming trip out West, and for my various lists that seem to be multiplying with no end in sight haha. Thanks for the giveaway!

  9. I've commented a couple times before, but mostly I'm a lurker! Sorry. Your tantalizing giveaway has pulled me out of the shadows.

    The notebooks are sweet! I'm in need of a new running journal, so that's probably what I'd use a new notebook for first. I'm also a post-bac pre-med student, so I have lots of planning to do... There's no end to the lists I could make between the covers of a notebook.

  10. Lisa M12:54 PM

    As I've said before I am a serious Listoholic. Which is probably why I'm so drawn to your blog. GREAT giveaway!!! I'm a busy wife who works full time while working towards a Biology/Health Sciences degree. The planners would be used for lunch and dinner planning, workouts, as well as school related lists and to-do lists! And it would be my very first Orla!
    Good luck to everyone!

  11. i don't know if i count since i have received a gift of a beautiful notebook from you - which started me on buying pretty notebooks. they make me smile whenever i go to a talk (especially if said talk is boring...) it's one way that i "prettyify" my surroundings. like - my boring office for instance.... so - you would help make my office look better! and i'd use them for writing notes on various talks and on the projects of my students :) btw - isn't the zucchini and chicken salad good? it's on our weekly rotation now esp. because we have a prolific zucchini plant.

  12. I am infatuated with notebooks of all kinds! I write everything down...I always try doing planning on the computer but I end up copying it down by hand in a notebook :) I would put these to good use by planning out my days and making lists (to-do, grocery, etc.)

  13. Katie3:42 PM

    The notebooks look great! I'm a grad student in chemistry, and I need to be better about keeping research ideas, seminar notes, suggestions from my advisor, etc. somewhere that I can actually find them. After seeing the research labs at a major company come to a halt for multiple days due to an internet virus (we couldn't use any lab instruments, as all data were sent to computers; we couldn't have meetings, as everyone had their calendars online; we couldn't call instead of email, as all phone lists were online), I am convinced that paper still holds an important place in the world!

  14. Hmmm...I'd probably use it to track my patients on wards/NICU etc. Maybe use the smaller flip ones for pearls I learn. Fun stuff! I had this feeling that your giveaway was going to be notebooks! :-)

  15. i use the same muji gel pens! i hoard them whenever i can get to a muji ( and i have sought muji's out all over the place--including paris. my poor husband.)

  16. Since I am lucky to have received beautiful stationary products from you for many birthdays and holidays, I guess I can't complain if I don't get chosen! I would use those notebooks for studying for board exams, planning research projects, and making lists - lots and lots of lists. But I promise that I would use one for recipes/groceries and give my kitchen some use! And maybe I would use one page for a manifesto for old times sake.

  17. Rachel7:50 PM

    These notebooks are so great! I would love to have them to organize my thoughts on programs as I start applying to pediatrics residencies next month! And they would be great for recording all the fun facts I learn on my peds rotations this year so I can be ready for intern year!

  18. Anonymous8:36 PM

    YES i totally want this. I'm in the process of applying to med schools and it would be awesome to have a notebook to keep everything organized for that this fall during the craziness. i totally linked to this too.

  19. Anonymous8:49 PM

    Hi Sarah!
    I think this is my first comment but I started reading because I recently graduated from UNC and love the area. I've really enjoyed your blog - it's really interesting to see the process of becoming a doctor through your eyes and I love your openness and honesty. Anyway I have always had an affinity for paper products and notebooks, like you! My family makes fun of me for it. I have tried to go electronic but I just can't give up my pen and paper to record everything! Have a great night - sorry for the novel of a comment!

  20. I often click over to Ghost World from EphBlog, and I always enjoy your musings, especially about running. I would love a notebook! I am entering my second year of grad school in math, and I have promised myself that I will take copious notes, underline in colors, highlight, make flashcards -- all right after class, so as to retain the information much better than last semester when I nearly did not pass. These lovely notebooks would be just the thing to encourage me to take beautiful notes and spend lots of time re-reading them!

  21. I'd really put those notebooks to good use. An empty-nester, building a house, trying to get organized for the first time since elementary school (and that was a lonnnnnnggggggg time ago)...I've been learning a lot from you, and I admire your organization and quest for balance. My generation didn't so well, but we did open a lot of doors, and I'm thrilled to see the progress your generation is making on issues that eluded us.

    (And I really love good paper.)

    Go Ephs!

  22. Linked to you on the blog--hopefully it sends a few people your way :) I'm a neurotic list-maker, and Sophie has made keeping organized a bit more difficult! I haven't had much of an opportunity to treat myself to things like pretty notebooks, what with the tiny student stipend going towards car repairs and fences that won't keep neighbors out :) Instead I scrawl on the dog-eared [science-company] sponsored non-stick sticky notes that are all over the lab. I'm so impressed that you've got the clout to get some freebies sent your way!

  23. Hi Sarah! Long time lurker, first time commenter... couldn't resist the urge to enter this contest.

    I am desperately in need of new notebooks, and pretty ones at that. I currently have one that I love, but its multipurpose nature is getting ridiculous. It is so not normal to have a single notebook for journaling, list-making, daily planning, and note-writing... I need to add some compartmentation to my life!

  24. Love your blog!

    Would love these beautiful notebooks to keep track of USMLE step 2 studying, topics to review, questions done, etc. Maybe they would make all the studying this month not so bad :)

  25. I would use them to write down all my clients!

  26. I'm currently working my way through the med school application process. I find that I have soo many different lists in multiple places for different schools, different applications...everything. i covet both your stationary and your organization/balance!!

  27. I will use these notebooks to record my admissions (as all my fabulous senior residents did before me) when I finally become a senior ward resident in Feruary.

  28. I really like making lists and keeping track of things on paper. I currently use various notepads from drug reps, but this would be a much more elegant means of organizing my life.

  29. I actually found your website from the Rhodia blog and found Ghost World to be a very interesting read (random surfing does pay off!). I couldn't resist entering the contest because I love notebooks, too. I remember fondly the days of Back to School shopping; of carefully picking out notebooks, pens, folders, filter paper, binders, etc. (It started with Lisa Frank back in the day :P)

    What will I use these notebooks for? I'm a writer and trying to get 2 books finished for publication). I'm always looking for notebooks that have all of the "oomph" (good paper, binding, etc.) and none of the weight -- since I write outside (coffee shops, bookstores, parks, etc.) a lot -- which Exaclair brands usually have.

    I use these notebooks to jot down ideas, outline new chapters, character sketch, make lists of books/movies/music I want to read/acquire, and whatever else pops into my head (crazy randomness and doodling also count. I tend to doodle flowers a lot - art savvy I am not). And I am not above having a chapter outline next to my grocery list. :D

  30. I would use these (way cool) notebooks and (awesome) pen to jot down various odds and ends pertaining to my job: special ed teacher. Oh the various information I could jot down if I had these supplies: faculty meetngs, student observations, schedules, etc... Yay for giveaways!

  31. I'm hoping it's not too late to enter! I would definitely use the notebooks for some AMAZING to do lists! Also as travel journals when I get around to doing that again...I looove journaling my daily activities in foreign countries, the old fashioned way with pen and paper!

  32. Meredith1:43 PM

    Ohh, these are lovely! I am a med student/nerd who loves to make lots of lists (and rarely completes them, ha). None of my current writing supplies are anywhere close to as nice as these. Pick me pick me!

  33. Bea-u-ti-ful notebook!! I would use them for making to-do lists, life's greatest pleasure :)

  34. Just found yo blog and lovin it :)
    Hmmm I would definetely use this notebook to organize all of my classes/sorority schedule/workouts during college. Last year was so chaotic for me, that organization would be welcomed gladly!

  35. Lisette11:17 PM

    I would use those lovely notebooks for writing notes. I have a terrible memory, you have NO idea. I need to keep track of tons of things and notebooks are my lifesavers. :)

  36. Love the notebooks. Love the recipes - made the zucchini curry soup a few weeks ago - substituted a sweet potato for the baking potato and garnished with greek yoghurt. Tried it hot and cold - I think I preferred it hot. Felt, oh so healthy. Thanks for the link to the black-eyed pea and pepper salad recipe. Think I'll try that next.

  37. awesome giveaway sara!! i love notebooks too, use them for all sorts of stuff, especially crazy lists, thoughts, affirmations, listing all the wonderful things about ghost world, etc :p everyone else has such a great need for them though, all academic and whatnot, so i just wanted to let you know LUCKY GIRL! :) we need to go running, i got me some kicks!