Sunday, December 11, 2011

Holiday Journal Donations

Holiday Journal Donations

Journaling has been an important part of my life since at least the 6th grade.  It was my best friend when I mistakenly thought I had no friends. I could cry into my journal and still appear strong to the outside world.  Mostly, it helped me work through emotional issues when professional help was unavailable to me.  Whenever I encounter a troubled youth, I suggest journaling and professional help. I'm sure some of you have had similar experiences.  Maybe that’s why I collect (hoard) so many journals.

For years, I have wanted to donate my unused journals but could not find the avenue for donating them. Thank goodness for Fresh Air Fund Holiday Drive in New York  Among the gifts on their "wish list" are writing journals and diaries.  Well, that’s right up my alley.

I picked 10 black journals and decorated them with silver ribbon and added a disposable fountain pen. I will remove my fingerprints before gifting them. :)

I added a label to each of the journals which readsThis Journal Belongs To ______________”.  I used a rubber stamp of a fountain pen at the top of the label.  I have to work on centering the rubber stamp for the inside label. 

I hope they like them.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

New Bic Disposable Fountain Pens

Armed with a new $1 off Bic coupon, I trekked through the slush and sleet this weekend and visited my local Staples to browse their selection of Bic pens.  I was delighted to discover a new Bic product.  Bic has come out with disposable fountain pens in a 2 pack of black pens and a 3 pack of blue, black and red pens.  I have a few Varsity disposable fountain pens so I looked forward to trying Bic’s version. 
The Bic fountain pens are larger than the Varsity fountain pens  The larger barrels make the Bic fountain pens slightly more comfortable to use.  The Bic fountain pens appear to hold more ink so I should be able to use them longer.  Overall, I prefer the look of the Bic fountain pens.

In terms of performance, I have to give the edge to the Bic fountain pens because the Bic nibs have a slightly finer point.  My one complaint about the Bic fountain pens has to do with the red pen.  In person, the ink comes out as a very watery red that almost looks pink.  However, I would certainly buy the black and blue versions again.

If you happen to visit Staples and like disposable fountain pens, you should check out Bic’s new offering.  Make sure to print off a coupon from Bic’s Facebook page before you purchase the pens.  Just sign into you Facebook account and click this link

Friday, October 28, 2011

My First Poppin Office Supplies Order

I first became aware of Poppin when I read a post on The Well Appointed Desk blog back in June.  A few weeks ago, I saw that Poppin, in honor of breast cancer awareness month, will donate 25% of the proceeds from all on-line sales of pink and magenta products to the Young Survival Coalition.  I decided it was a great time to try out their products and to contribute to a worthy cause. 

I ordered 3 different types of pens, a medium softcover notebook in pink, and a small softcover notebook in magenta.  I received my order within three days and I’m very happy with my selections.  This review will focus on the pens.  I will review the notebooks in a subsequent post.
The products came in an orange box featuring pictures of different types of office supplies.  When I opened the box, there was an insert with a picture of staple remover and the phrase “nice to meet you!” in a thought  bubble.  When I lifted the insert, I saw that the packing material consisted of inflated bags with the phrases “hello!” and “nice digs!” in thought bubbles.  Under the bags was an orange, reusable envelope with the Poppin logo and the words “important documents”.  The envelope contained the invoice for the order. 

I am amazed by their attention to detail in the packaging.  I definitely had one of those “uhh, ahh, ohh” experiences as I removed each layer from the box.

My order consisted of stick ballpoint pens in blue, black gel ink pens and grey signature ballpoint pens.  The words “Poppin”, “Poppin BallPoint” and “Poppin Gel” are subtly printed on the barrels of the corresponding pens. The blue stick pens have almost jewel toned, plastic bodies.  The pens’ design reminds me of a Pilot Better Ballpoint pen.  The gel and ball point pens have similar barrels and metal clips on the caps.  The gel and ball point pens are refillable although I am not sure which type of refill to use.  All of the pens are extremely light weight with the stick pens being the lightest.  The barrels of the gel and ball point pens are wider than I would like but they are comfortable to use.  The inks in all the pens flow freely.  I had only a minor skipping issue with the gel pens when I changed the angle of my grip. 

The signature pens come in several colors, however, all of the signature pens have black ink.  I think it would be great if Poppin could match the ink color to the barrel color.  I’d also love it if the ink in the gel pens came in colors other than black blue and red.  Finally, I wish there was a way to order the pens as singles or in a sampler.  The one pen sampler they do offer comes with 132 pens.  While I love pens, 132 of the same style is a bit much for me.  The sampler is perfect, however, for an office environment.

The products' prices are very reasonable.  I will certainly place another order so I can try some of the other products.  

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Moleskine Writing Set Box with .7 mm Rollerball Pen

A few months ago, I pre-ordered the Moleskine Writing Set Box from    Last year, I saw similar boxes on the website but the boxes sold out before I could order one.   When I saw the Writing Set Box available for purchase in the U.S., I pre-ordered it right away.  Today, I finally received the long awaited box.

The actual box looks like a Moleskine notebook with various “writing themed” words in different fonts embossed on the cover.  The label wrapped around the box has pencil drawings of a ruled pocket notebook and an uncapped rollerball pen. 

When you open the box, there is a large, pleated pocket on the front inside cover.  Inside the pocket is the standard pamphlet containing the  Moleskine history.  The main section of the box is covered by a piece of paper with the words  “Writing Set”.

When you lift the piece of paper, you discover a pocket ruled notebook and a .7 mm rollerball pen.   The notebook and pen are secured inside the box by a specially molded, removable foam insert.  The paper label surrounding the pocket notebook is similar to the label on the outside of the box. 

This is a great box that any pen and paper lover would love.  I may order a few more for holiday gifts.

I won’t bother describing the notebook since almost all pen and paper lovers are familiar with the notebook.  I will, however, take this opportunity to do a follow-up review of the Moleskine pen.

I originally reviewed the fine point (.5 mm) pen in May (Moleskine Rollerball Pen Review)  and have been using the pen pretty consistently since then.  I ended up buying the  medium point (.7mm) pen because I wanted to try some of the other ink colors which are not available for the fine point version of the pen.  

My original pen has held up pretty well with the exception of a few minor issues. 

The first issue is that the black coating on the clip part of the pen has chipped off in certain places.  While I use the pen regularly, I’m not particularly hard on pens.  I’m pretty disappointed with that aspect of the pen but it does not affect its function.  I will be interested to see if I have a similar problem with chipping with the other pens.

Another issue I have with the pen relates to the spring that attaches the end cap to the ink cartridge.  Since the end cap of the pen is shaped like a corkscrew, you have to be careful that the ink cartridge and spring are properly aligned before screwing in the cap or you will end up bending the spring like I did.  I can still use the pen but the bent spring makes it a little difficult to change cartridges.

Finally, my biggest complaint about the pen is that the green, red, brown and violet ink refills are only available in the medium point.  The ink colors themselves are very nice.  The brown and violet inks are my favorites.  I would love to have blue-black and deep green versions of the ink.  If the pen sells well, I hope Moleskine will consider expanding the ink selections.

Currently, the pens and ink refills are available for purchase through the Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Papyrus and A.I. Friedman websites.  Almost all of the websites offer some type of discount on the pens and refills.  If you haven't purchased one yet, I highly recommend doing so.   Better yet, purchase the Writing Box which includes the pen.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Star Wars Limited Edition Pocket Ruled Notebook

This is a bit of a drive by post.  I was so excited when I received this at work today that I just had to take pictures and post them. 

Inside Cover

Back Cover

Mini-poster in back pocket

The paper inside is the same cream colored, ruled paper found in the typical Moleskine ruled pocket version.

I ordered this from for $10.17, which is 32% off the list price. 

In person, it looks better than I thought it would.  I should receive the large ruled version in a few weeks.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

OfficeMax - Friends and Family Savings Event - 8/21/2011 to 8/22/2011

Bring in these coupons for in-store savings.  Savings include 20% off supplies, ink and toner.  There's also a deal for a free Sharpie Essentials Kit with a $5 purchase.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Muji Denim Tag Plain Notebook

This past July, I visited the Muji-to-Go store in the Jet Blue terminal at JFK airport while waiting to board my flight.  While in the store, I noticed cellophane wrapped A5 and A6 notebooks.  I had not seen them before and decided to purchase them.  Turns out, the notebooks are from Muji's new Denim Tag line. The covers are similar to the material used for their denim tag book covers, but are thinner and lighter in color.   

The paper is sort of an off-white color, made from 15% recycled materials.  Unlike Muji’s recycled paper A5 and A6 notebooks, these notebooks contain fewer sheets (80 v. 144) and the corners of the pages themselves are rounded.  The paper is very smooth and a nice weight. 


My ink test didn’t show any feathering on the paper but there was a bit of a shadow. 

I generally prefer lined notebooks for serious work.  I’ll probably put this in my work tote for jotting down random bits of information. 

20% off one item at Staples - Expires August 20, 2011

Just noticed a new coupon from Staples.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Various Office Supply Coupons

In addition to loving pens, paper and other general office supplies, I love coupons for pens, paper and other office supplies.  Below are a few of the coupons I've used or intend to use.

$1.00 off Pentel Energel-X Roller Pen

$1.00 off Avery Note Tabs and Pocket tabs

$1.00 off Pilot Fixion pens.  After filling in the required information, a link for printing the coupon will be sent to your e-mail address.

$.50 off Pilot Pen

Various Target Coupons, including $1.00 Paper Mate pens

Various Coupons for Post-It products

Free Post-It Sample

Office Max Coupons

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Bic deal at Staples

This week at Staples, the Bic Atlantis retractable pens are on sale for $2 a pack.  Each pack contains 2 free pens.  In addition, Staples has a Bic promotion which allows you to buy 2 Bic products and receive a 3rd Bic product of equal or lesser value for free.  In the end, I was able to combine the sale with the Bic promotion and purchased 3 packs of the pens for about $1.33 per pack.    Not a bad deal.

I've tried the Bic Atlantis pens in the past.  I like the grip, the smooth flowing ink and the fact that "clicker" that doesn't wiggle when engaged.  I do not like that the pen is so light weight.  I generally prefer weightier pens.  I also don't like the fact the light green and light blue inks from the “Fashion Colors” pack do not show up well on paper.  Why bother creating an ink color that you can barely see?  Maybe it's a function of the fact that it's a ball point pen as opposed to a gel pen.  At any rate, while it is a serviceable pen, it won't be part of my daily rotation.  I'll keep a few in my work bag for emergencies and donate the rest to a school supply drive in my area.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Rad and Hungry - Panama Kit

I first became aware of Rad and Hungry after reading a post at The Well Appointed Desk.  I finally gave in and signed up for quarterly kits after seeing a review of the Germany kit posted on The Pen Addict's site.

The August kit contains items from Panama.  The items include 2 triangular pencils, a ruled notebook, an eraser guard and as a bonus clear book cover for the notebook. 

I love the angular grips on Muji hexagonal pens and the new Moleskine pens so, of course, I love the triangular pencils.   The ruled notebook is a little shorter and a little wider than an A5 notebook. The notebook contains 128 "wide striped" pages.  

The front inside cover contains lists of various measurements and has a section for a weekly schedule. 


The back cover contains sections for phone numbers, important dates and a multiplication table. 

The eraser guard is an item I've never used but am happy to have.  My late father was an engineer so looking at it makes me think of him.  The clear plastic book cover is a nice bonus.  I’ll have to figure out if I can use with any of my other notebooks.

Each month's kit is revealed the first Tuesday of every month.  Rad and Hungry posts clues on its Facebook page on the  preceding Monday.  The first person to figure out the clue wins bonus items to go along with that month’s kit.  I can't wait to find out what next month’s kit has to offer.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

New Markings 3 Pack Ruled Paper Journals

During one of my recent Staples trips, I purchased a pack of ruled journals from Markings by C. R. Gibson.  I had never seen them before so while I have what seems like hundreds of journals, I couldn’t resist buying them.  They are priced at $6.99 for three journals.  Each journal contains 80 acid free, perforated pages and a storage pocket.  There are 27 lines per page and the journals measure approximately 5.5’’ by 8.5’’.  The lines are made of soy ink and are actually small dots placed side by side.  The outside cover feels like a cross between vinyl and paper.  The inside cover has a glossy sheen. 

 The journals remind me of the Ecosystem ruled essay books, which retail for $10.95, currently $7.88 on the Barnes & Noble website.   The Ecosystem journals have 60 perforated pages with 32 lines per page. 

The paper is relatively smooth.  The pen test showed some bleed through for permanent makers and fountain pens and light shadowing for a few of the gel pens.  Overall, it’s a decent and economical journal best suited for use with a ball point pen or a gel pen with a fine point nib.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Pentel Energel-X Retractable Rollergel Pens

Like most pen and paper addicts, back to school season is one of my favorite times of the year.  I get to check out the new office and school supplies and can purchase them at great prices.  The cashiers at the Staples around the corner from me are used to seeing me every Sunday morning when I go in to purchase items I picked out from the newest circular.  This week, I purchased a new product from Pentel’s Recycology line.  It’s a variety pack of Energel-X Retractable Rollergel Pens. It’s made from 84% recycled plastic and comes with .5 mm or .7 mm metal tips.  I purchased a pack with .7 mm tips in black, red, blue, green and violet.  Normally $7 a pack, they are on sale for $3.

The packaging comes with a sticker stating that the ink offers a quick drying time, no smears and no globs.  The package also states that the ink is “bright” and “vibrant”.  The barrel shaped pen has a rubberized grip and its design reminds me of Pilot G2 Retractable Gel Pens.  The pen is refillable and uses LR7 refills.

The ink color is definitely vibrant. Unfortunately, the poor lighting in my apartment doesn’t allow me to capture how vivid the ink is.  I did find that the ink smeared a little in the first few seconds but being right handed, it’s not that much of a problem.  The grip is comfortable and the ink flows very easily, without any skipping.  The only downside for me is that I was only able to purchase the .7 mm tips.  I prefer nibs that are .5 mm or less.  However, the ink flow and great colors mean I’ll likely add them to my daily arsenal.

 Pentel is offering a $1.00 coupon with the purchase of any Pentel Energel-X Gel Pens (2 count or larger).  Simply enter the Pentel Energel-X Sweepstakes to access the coupon.