Monday, October 31, 2011

Review: OfficeMax Gel 0.7mm Blue

This is a review of the Office Max Gel 0.7mm pen in blue
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I hate this pen. It looks nice enough. Very simple and like a typical gel ink pen. But wait till you start writing. Oh you’ll hate it just as much as I do. That is, if you are a pen snob or have freakish pen standards (one in the same, really).
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It has horrible grip. The shape and placement makes no sense to me. It leaves that horrible little space of plastic between the grip and the start of the tip where most people hold the pen itself. (Unfortunately, the Uni-ball signo DX also does this but I’ll forgive that pen because it’s magnificent in every other way). Furthermore, it’s a rounded type grip but has very little give to it so it hurts to hold it tightly.

Something about the way the lid snaps on to the top of the pen irks me. The lid feels so small and the snap is so violent, I feel like I’m going to crack the lid. While I do appreciate a snug hold so I don’t lose the lid, this one is just peculiar. By the way, it’s so tight that when you’re removing the lid from the back of the pen, if you should happen to grab the clip that’s inserted into the top of the cap, and pull on that, you’ll probably pull it right off. Allow me to demonstrate.
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Well. That was annoying.
The ink is blobby and the nib is terrible. The ink doesn’t flow smoothly at all. Sometimes it’s scratchy, sometimes I get a blob. Not left-handed friendly at all. And when it blobs, ink remains gooped on the nib. Which means if you accidentally drop it, it’s going to smear that ink on your couch or carpet. Or your new white shirt.
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I do like the fact that it has a clear barrel. I love being able to watch my ink levels go down. It’s so satisfying. Fortunately, one other thing it does have going for it is the color of the ink is quite nice. It’s a deep blue which I am usually a fan of. Too bad it’s combined with a miserable writing experience. I’m sorry. I feel so cruel to the pen. It’s not its fault it sucks. But it does. No offense if anyone out there loves this pen. Maybe I got a dud! Either way, I’m going to have to pass this off on to someone else to use up.

This pen (especially given that it comes in giant packs of 12 is not badly priced. But there are far better options out there. If you happen to have a whole bunch of these, given that the ink is a nice color and it comes out so ... inkily... you could color with it! I like to doodle and waste ink that way (because I have an illness that I am ashamed of - an obsession with using up pens). I guess that would be a good use for this pen.
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Words by Sarah Reilly
Far more preferable choices would be:
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From top to bottom: Zebra Sarasa 0.7mm, or Uni-ball Signo DX 0.38 mm, but not the OfficeMax Gel 0.7mm.
Pilot G2
Zebra Sarasa
Uni-ball Signo DX/RT

I liken this pen to a good hobby. Say you love fishing. Would you really want to fish with a garbage fishing rod? Probably not. If you really had to, you might. This pen is a garbage fishing rod. It ruins the hobby. If I really had to write with this pen and couldn’t afford to splurge on other pens, well, pens would probably not be a very good hobby for me then.


Office Max- $1.13 each (though they often have sales and deals)


I can’t recommend this pen to anyone. Unless you’re on a budget (well... we’re all on a pen budget, aren’t we?) - a serious budget, I’d cast my vote towards the other pens I suggested. In fact, even if you are on a serious budget, it’s probably worth it to splurge on a different pen that will at least give you some enjoyment to write with. The OfficeMax Gel 0.7 is just ... a pen. It’s not a gourmet pen - you know... a pen that’s suitable for the discerning palate!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Whiskers & Paws: Ellie

Just Ellie tonight. I managed to capture her green eyes :)

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Friday, October 28, 2011

Whiskers & Paws: October 2011 Edition

We had a photo session the other evening. It was very difficult to keep their attention without using treats...And then when I did use treats, they nearly bit my fingers off and ripped me apart trying to get them away from me. The cretins!
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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Update: Pentel Slicci 0.25mm Orange on Regular Paper

 I guess it wasn't fair to do micro tip pen testing on premium, creamy smooth paper like Clairefontaine (Quo Vadis Habana/Rhodia R Pad) or Rhodia (Reverse Book). Obviously any pen is going to write more smoothly on premium than on “regular” paper. And if you’re at work, how many offices have premium paper for taking notes or scribbling on documents? Well, probably none (which in itself is an atrocity).

Just an update on my Pentel Slicci 0.25mm Orange review here. I wanted to point out my dissatisfaction with this micro tip's performance in my Moleskine (big surprise, right?).

I noted that upon "coloring" on the page, the ink started printing through on the other side of the page. I stopped blobbing the ink on before it reached bleed through. I also felt as though the tip would score or tear the paper - it felt so sharp and I could hear it scratching. This would be really annoying in a silent room of a bunch of students writing exams. You'd drive yourself and everyone else insane with the scritchscritchscritch.

Fortunately, the ink didn't feather. And the orange is still pretty, so I still like it on premium paper!
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Monday, October 24, 2011

Review: Pentel Slicci 0.25mm Orange

This is a review of the Pentel Slicci 0.25 mm in orange.
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        Journal and draw in fine detail
        Writes 0.25mm, extra-fine lines of consistent density
        Strikingly bright, acid-free, gel ink
        Ideal for personalizing paper, card-stock, label tags, chipboard and die-cuts and memory books
        AP Certified

I picked this pen up at the University Co-op Art Supply Store in Austin, Texas. I have only a few orange pens so I decided to branch out and get something different than my usual pink and purple. This orange makes me think of orange sherbet. Yum.
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The thin plastic barrel, plastic cap, and plastic clip of the Slicci 0.25 mm is just like that of the Slicci 0.7 mm. There is no grip except for a ridged barrel that extends all the way to the metal tip. The entire pen is brightly colored to match its ink, which I really love, and you can see the ink level through the barrel. It’s so eye-catching that it makes me want to buy every single color in existence and carry them around with me all the time (in my purse that is actually a pencil case with shoulder straps). For a detailed review of this body of this pen, please check out my review of the Pentel Slicci 0.7 mm nib.
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As with the 0.7 mm nib, the 0.25 mm orange is not a very heavy pen, even when it’s capped. In order to have good control over the pen, and thus, my writing, I have to grip the pen pretty hard. I found this to be even more so the case with the 0.25 than the 0.7.
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In Quo Vadis Habana with Clairefontaine 90 g bright white paper
One great thing all Sliccies have in common is their gorgeous, vibrant ink! The colors are bold and never faded or washed out. One thing I was certainly curious about was how this 0.25 mm nib would write. The 0.7 mm puts down great, solid lines without skipping or scratching at a normal pace. If I moved the tip quickly over the paper (faster than most people would probably write), it got a little scratchy and I'd have to go back to fill in some white spaces. I was thinking writing with the 0.25 may be initially scratchy like when you’re first breaking in a Pilot Hi-Tec C 0.3 mm. I was surprised to find the ink started flowing almost instantly. Once the ink is going, it doesn’t seem to skip, even with such a thin nib. I am impressed with the ink flow. Sharp, clean lines, and no feathering. Not surprisingly, it's not as inky smooth as the 0.7 mm nib. But some people prefer minimal ink flow for writing.
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In Rhodia R Pad No. 16
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Comparing Pentel Slicci 0.25 mm orange nib and 0.7 mm purple nib
This pen appears to be marketed as an art supply so I tried both writing and doodling with it. I was very pleased with the writing experience, and especially the fine detail and precise drawing I could do (not that I can draw well).
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In Rhodia Reverse Book
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In Quo Vadis Habana with Clairefontaine 90 g bright white paper
On to other things... the pen is not refillable. This makes me a little sad because it seems like such a waste to throw out the entire pen. That being said, the barrel is plastic so I wouldn't be surprised if the color started chipping off it (like it does on the Sharpie pen). Though on the bright side, the pen contains 87% recycled content.
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Pentel Slicci 0.25 mm orange, Zebra Sarasa Clip 0.7 mm, Pilot Hi-Tec C 0.4 mm, Sharpie pen, Pentel Hybrid Gel Roller 0.6 mm, Uni-ball Signo 207
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Interesting to look at different nibs
 Check out some other great Pentel Slicci 0.25 mm reviews:

Daydreamer's Welcome
Office Supply Geek
The Pen Addict

Price (Quite the range of prices...)

Paper Place (Austin)- $4.00
The University Co-op Art Supply Store - $3.00
JetPens - $3.30
Writer’s Bloc - $2.75


I like these pens. I really love colorful, intense inks and the Pentel Sliccies certainly have that! The variety of nib sizes available - 0.25, 0.3, 0.4, 0.7, and 0.8 mm - is great for every need you may have. The only downsides are that it is a bit expensive, and it is not refillable, so you’ll have to pay that high cost each time you need to replace your Slicci.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Review: Clairefontaine Basics Leather Pencil Case - Small Oval, Tan

This is a review of the Clairefontaine Basics Leather Pencil Case Small Oval in tan.
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I was visiting my brother in Ottawa and every time I go there, I HAVE to visit Paper Papier. My brother and dad were waiting outside in the car for me so I was in a rush (every stationery freak's nightmare: having to hurry in a stationery store!!!). I saw this adorable little pencil case and grabbed it because it was the only one left. Poor, sad, lonely pencil case. I brought it home and gave it a warm place to live.


Genuine sheepskin leather
Soft and supple
Matching zipper
7 1/4" x 2" x 1 1/8"

This little case is from the Basics Collection pencil case here in the US but is referred to as the “Age Bag” in Europe. I like Age Bag better! Sounds more fun! Mine came with the Age Bag tag but obviously, it was promptly ruined by certain felines.

I adore this pencil case. I really love it. If you are a devoted vegan, you may hate me for this, but I love the leather. It’s so soft. It’s such a fun, mushy little pencil pouch and it makes me literally HAPPY when I pick it up and unzip it. I don’t know why. It’s just small and adorable.
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Don’t laugh, but because it’s leather, I do have leather lotion for it - to help keep it nice and soft and supple. (The word supple makes me uneasy. Why? Pay close attention to Salad Fingers. Every time I hear the word "supple", I think of Salad.)

I love the look of the inside which is rough and textured but still very soft. I love placing my prized pens lovingly into a bed of of sheepskin leather. It’s heart warming. It makes me feel fuzzy.
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Although it’s small, it still holds a decent amount of stuff. In this picture, there is about ten instruments in there - including thick highlighter barrels - the Sharpie gel highlighter, the Sharpie Highlighter Liquid Pen, some Sharpie Pens, Pentel R.S.V.Ps, and a few others.
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It also holds smaller sized notepads if you like to keep a pad tucked in your pencil case like I do. This is the Moleskine Volant Mini Plain Notebook. Fits no problem.
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If you don’t like tan, or want a different color anyway, there are a few others: black, green, and red. Incidentally, these colors also match the Basics Collection notebooks. How cool is that? Plus, all the colors are complementary so you could get ONE OF EACH! That’s correct, one of each color of pencil case along with one of each color of each type of notebook. And then mix and match. Then you will never have to pick what color you want to buy.

I treat this pencil case like gold so I’m not sure how it would stand up to abuse (why would you abuse it??) but I do know that leather is generally pretty hardy and with some regular care, it should last you a good looooong time, if not forever!
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Writer’s Bloc - $9.50


A clean, tidy, and professional little pencil case for business or fun! This is one of my favorite pencil cases ever!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Review: Midori Animal Shaped Paperclips - Cats

I have a confession. I love stationery and cats. So when I saw JetPens had paperclips in the shape of cats, I went nuts. However, in my lifelong effort to cull down my purchase orders at JetPens, someone (who shall remain nameless for their safety) convinced me I didn't need them because I'd never use them and if I did, someone would steal them. I couldn't bear to think of someone stealing one of my 30 D-Clips. What kind of monster would do that?? So I removed them from my order and proceeded on with life.
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A year passed. And we moved to Austin. And I dragged Kevin to The Paper Place because I needed a fix. I was picking up pens left, right, and center without even thinking. (Don't worry, by the end, I usually end up putting a bunch back, I'm not some crazed pen hoarder or anything). Anyhow, I spotted these cat-shaped paper clips again and this time, I refused to listen to his reasoning. I said I would never share them and I'll only use them for myself. That's the spirit, right?

Please observe how adorable they are.
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And practical. Who am I to not purchase something that is obviously so practical?
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This isn't much of a review. It's just me showing you how cute they are. And how practical they can be! (Please disregard the fact that I paper clipped a bunch of pages in a notebook together. I realize this isn't a normal daily life kind of use).

In case you're worried, these are pretty solid. So far, I have lost none, nor have I broken any. You know when you bend a paper clip a lot, it eventually snaps? That hasn't happened. That being said, I'd never try. So if someone else tries, great, please let me know what happens.


The Paper Place - $6.00
JetPens - $6.73


If you are a student or a professional or a mom or a dad or a human being that has ever needed a paper clip in your lifetime, these are adorable and you should have some on hand. Simple pleasures, I say! If cats aren't your thing, there's a giant variety of fruits, objects, and animals available! Check out the selection at JetPens!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Review: Nomadic PN-01 Two Layer Pencil Case Light Pink

This is a review of the Nomadic PN-01 Two Layer Pencil Case in Light Pink.
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Not surprisingly, I picked up this cool pencil cases at JetPens - where they have a great variety of pencil cases and for some reason, I am a huge sucker for them. Pencil cases, that is. (Well...JetPens, too). Pencil cases are an associated addiction of pen lovers.

Cases by Nomadic are overall quite fantastic. They're unique, well designed, and come in a huge variety of colors, shapes, and sizes. They are often available in bright colors, and are full of pockets and places for you to stash your pens, pencils, and other stationery. The inside of this one is orange! Super fun. Way more exciting than a boring plain black inside, right?
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This particular pencil case opens on three sides with two zippers (YKK zippers into the main pocket. Great for organizing things as you want inside. I love things that open on all three sides. Pencil cases that only have one opening and you have to dig around to get to the bottom are difficult for on-the-go organization (though convenient for mass carrying of stationery).
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The inside flap has a mesh pocket but it’s not really stretchy. It holds slim items like Post-Its, a ruler, in addition to pens and pencils. Ink cartridges for your fountain pens would fit nicely here as well.
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Post-it flags, Waterman 52V, Pilot Cavalier fountain pen, Sharpie fine point, Pilot Hi-Tec C 0.4 mm violet, Sharpie pen, Putimo White line correction tape.
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Post-it flags, Lamy Al-Star Safari, Graf Von Faber-Castell Classic Anello Titanium fountain pen, Mont Blanc StarWalker Metal & Rubber, Rhodia Pad No. 11, Fountain pen ink refills in Corning cryogenic vials.
The middle flap separates the top cover from the main pocket. It has three elastic loops. I really like the loops for holding my fountain pens. I don’t like when they are in a pencil case and hit each other. They are very prized possessions so I like to keep their bodies in the best shape possible. Hitting each other can cause chipping or damage to the metal!
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Beneath this little flap is the main pocket which holds a fair amount of pens. I was able to comfortable fit ten in there (in addition to three in the loops). I like to keep a Rhodia Pad No. 11 in here for doodling or taking notes. And the design of the pencil case affords protection to the cover of the notepad! You know... so pens don’t scratch it and stuff.
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Post-it flags, Bic 4-color fashion pen, Uni-ball Signo 207 pink, Pilot G2 pink, Zebra Z-Grip pink, Uni-ball Signo 207 green, Uni-ball Signo 207 orange, Uni-ball Signo 207 light blue, eSharp 0.5mm mechanical pencil, Putimo White line correction tape.
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There is another little flap in the main pocket that could hold things like erasers, mini white-out tapes, pencil leads, USB flash drives, or a Kokuyo Easy Page Flip Fingertip Protector! The little pocket keeps the page flipper nice and crumb-free. Unless you get crumbs in the pocket.

Easy to clean durable nylon material, inside and out, just in case your cat barfs on it (that’s usually a hint that you pay too much attention to your pens and not enough to the cat). Or if a pen explodes in it or something (I wouldn't wish this on my worst enemy).


JetPens - $14.00


A wee bit expensive if you've never used a Nomadic pencil case before. But when you compare it to what you can get at Staples or something, you won't feel guilty about it! ... Not that you should feel guilty about any of your stationery purchases. They're necessary for life. There are certainly cheaper pencil cases but they’re not nearly as fun or useful for organization and transporting the objects of your affections!

*Note: I changed the title to reflect the name of this particular pencil case as it was listed on JetPens when I bought it. The new ones I linked are the same, just a different name and colors! And they changed the little outer tag!
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GourmetPens by Azizah Asgarali is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
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