Friday, March 30, 2012

Mailbox Goodies: Pen Pal Stationery

My good friend Shangching (@bakanekosan) may have realized my plight (the lack of stationery one) when I started sending her letters written on card stock paper and using my "desperation-only" supply of creepy stationery with naked cherubs on it. Lucky for me, she is very generous and sent me a surprise parcel of stationery!!! Thank you Shangching!
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The best part is the hilarious sayings on the stationery, such as "funny flowers". 

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Mailbox Goodies: Melody Nunez Water Lily Cards

Remember how I was in a major deficit of stationery up to a few weeks ago? A few days ago, I won a great giveaway at Melody Nunez's blog of her personally made notecards with her own photo of pink water lilies! They're perfect for any occasion or just for dropping a friend a line, and they're so pretty. Thank you Melody!
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Look how cute they're packaged!!
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That's correct. This included a hand written note by Melody, on a card with a SUGAR COOKIE RECIPE ON IT. *drool*
Please peoples, head over here to check out Melody's great blog, and check her out on Twitter!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Review: Pilot Hi-Tec-C Coleto 5 Color Multi Pen - Clear Pink

Brad (@dowdyism) at JetPens has generously sent a Pilot Hi-Tec-C Coleto 5 color multi pen in clear pink (plus refills!) for review. Many thanks to you Brad and JetPens!
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The Pilot Hi-Tec-C gel ink pens are quite popular and are known for their great micro tips, lovely ink,  and don't forget their range of colors! I myself have a good 50 Hi-Tec-Cs or so (I know...but some were being discontinued so I had to stock up on them) but I really wanted to try the Coleto. The reason for this is because I like "all-in-one" things. It's much easier to carry one pen with five different colors than five separate pens, right??  (This is the same reason I hate having to carry a BlackBerry AND an iPod Touch... why can't they just morph into one device of awesome? Anyway...I digress). So I really have a thing for multipens. The sad thing is, I only own one: the Bic 4-color in fashion colors. I know, it's not much of a multipen.
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Pilot Hi-Tec-C Coleto 5 Color Multi Pen vs. Pilot Hi-Tec-C
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0.4 mm tips
I'm not kidding when I say I spent hours on JetPens, trying to pick the body and refills I wanted. In the end, I narrowed it down to the 5 color body in clear pink with the following refills:

- 0.5 mm violet
- 0.4 mm apricot orange
- 0.5 mm apple green
- 0.5 mm baby pink
- 0.4 mm cherry pink

I absolutely LOVE all these colors!! They're cheery, springy, and happy. I think they all fit together quite nicely as well.
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Happy colors!
The body is quite simple: it's a simple plastic make up that's easy to figure out and use. Pop the cap off at the top, put your refills in, and pop it back into place. Easy peasy! It's also great because you can see what color refill to select based on the color of the knob at the top. The sides of the refills also indicate the tip size (in case you're not a nib-freak and can't tell just by looking at it...). Okay so I won't blab about the body. For the price, it's not going to blow your mind as far as component bodies go, but it's cute and not too expensive.

There is a thin layer of grip around the barrel near the tip and it's just for gripping purposes, not cushioning so don't expect it to relieve grip pain if you hold your pens tightly. Especially in the case of the larger barrels. Speaking of larger barrels, I thought the 5-body would be really bulky but it wasn't and I am able to write with it comfortably. I wouldn't have a writing marathon in it but it's fine for doodles and jotting notes in my journal (given the price of refills, I don't want to use it for every task anyway...).

A great thing about Coletos is that you can get a whole bunch of different bodies if Hello Kitty pink isn't your thing. There is also a whole slew of refills including various tip sizes, a mechanical pencil, and stylus. You can do some serious customization with what's available!

Having written with the Hi-Tec-C before, I was expecting similar performance and I was not let down! The Coleto refills write wonderfully - there was not a hint of scratchiness or skipping (although neither 0.4 mm or 0.5 mm are thaaaat fine). They don't show through or bleed through, under normal writing conditions. It dries very quickly too and doesn't smear - perfect for left-handed writers (who also deserve nice pens).
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My only complaint is that the refills are too expensive for how long they last. They are much smaller than regular Hi-Tec Cs and don't last as long. Gel ink runs out pretty quickly in general, and the Coleto refills run out even quicker!
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Top: Coleto refill. Bottom: Hi-Tec-C cartridge.
Can I interest you in more Coleto?
Economy Pens
Office Supply Geek
Office Supply Geek (A different one.)
Pen Addict
Office Supply Geek (Yes. Another one.)
No Pen Intended
Multi Pen Dimensions

JetPens - $4.25
Refills - $2.20 each

Super fun to write with and so many color options available! Given the price of the Coleto bodies, the price of refills and bodies sort of "balance out". Okay. That's just me justifying that I'm going to continue to use the Coleto because I love having this multipen and I love the colors Pilot has made for them! I'm already looking at another Coleto body so I can have one of each color always at hand!
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A pretty pink pair: Clear pink Coleto + Ikea sketchbook

**I was provided one or more of these products for review, but all opinions are my own!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Happy 1st Birthday Peaches and Koa!

Ah yes, March 23rd marked one year of age for these little ones. Well, they're not so little anymore. Rather, they are muscular, athletic, intelligent, inquisitive monsters kitties!
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Happy birthday, rugrats!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Mailbox Goodies: Retro 51

It's been a busy time for Mailbox Goodies here! This week, I received a package from Retro 51 for the St. Patrick's Day giveaway held at the blog! I had the tab open for a little while and I was thinking and thinking, trying to come up with a clever ending to "Wherever you go and whatever you do, may...". This was decidedly difficult and I gave up a few times. Finally, I went with a simple and classic one: "Wherever you go and whatever you do, may a Retro 51 be right there with you!"

Anyway, this super fun package included a Retro 51 t-shirt (in red, which is possibly one of my favorite t-shirt colors ever), a Retro51 pin, and of course, the green Croco Tornado!
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I am also madly in love with the tube it came in as well!!
Many thanks to Retro 51 for these great goodies!!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Call for Submissions! April 2012 Carnival of Pen, Pencil, and Paper

Hey there fellow pen, pencil, paper, (and ink) fans! April is coming up quickly and this month, the Carnival of Pen, Pencil, and Paper is being hosted by Economy Pens!

It seems the carnival submission site is down, so Alex is requesting everyone sends in their schtuff via email or Twitter.

This is a fantastic opportunity for budding bloggers/writers/artists to get their posts out there and get some more circulation, and for experienced bloggers/writers/artists to share their expertise! I was so nervous to share my work for my first carnival but I'm so glad I did. This community is a great, wonderful set of people, so don't be shy! Share your stuff! Don't let others miss out on the chance to see your stuff! And if there's another blog you really want to share, now's the time to do so - carnivals have been a great way to introduce me to new blogs.

Here's the last few carnivals, in case you need ideas of what to share! There's a lot of variety so don't be shy!

March 2012 at The Blog of European Paper Company
February 2012 at Office Supply Geek
January 2012 at Goldspot Pens

And for some real fun, check out the very first Carnival, from August 2009, at Notebook Stories!

Whatcha waitin' for? Time is a-tickin'!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Mailbox Goodies: Everyday Correspondence

A few days ago, James (@EverydayCorresp) held some impromptu giveaways on Twitter where all you had to do was send him an email (and mention your like/love/madpassionateobsession for fountain pens, and you could even get some ink cartridges)! Wow. Easiest giveaway ever, right? Yes. And a few days later, an AMAZING package arrived in the mail!

1. This is the best envelope I have ever seen. I love the martians from Toy Story! "THE CLAW!"
Pixar Package
No offense, but I blurred out our addresses. I'm sure you're ALL lovely people but... you know. Someone out there might not be.
2. Like I said, Wow. I was not expecting this envelope to be stuffed full of paper and some ink cartridges - well, I knew about the ink but I didn't realize it would be so many! This wonderful parcel included stationery (which I desperately need because I'm writing letters on card stock most of the time), post cards, beautiful printed stationery (see the Hotel Mecca? Awesome.), and more. 
James, I don't know what possessed you to clear out your ink and paper cabinet but thank you so much for your generosity! I will enjoy these goodies very much!!

You can also check out James's great blog here!

Friday, March 16, 2012 Review: Duck EZ Start Premium Packaging Tape + Dispensers & Zebra Printed Duck Tape

Hello folks! I see you're here to check out the Duck EZ Start Premium Packaging Tape, the Duck E-Z Start Premium Packaging Tape with dispenser, and the Zebra Printed Duck Tape - a set of office supplies sent by Shoplet for review!
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Quite the sticky package!
In case you didn't know, I love tape. I consider it one of those associated addictions of pen-love. I have always had a thing for Duck tape and Kevin (for some unfathomable reason...) wouldn't let me get any so when I opened up this surprise shipment, I was thrilled to see it full of Duck tape!!

Duck EZ Start Premium Packaging Tape - $14.91 per pack

This hefty pack of three includes 2 rolls (1.88" x 60 yards) and a bonus roll (1.88" x 30 yards) and two green plastic dispensers. The dispensers are green plastic that cradle the rolls of tape and have a serrated edge for tearing tape. The rolls of tape themselves are - yes, I mean this - very attractive! They are thick rolls and the tape is crystal clear - it's easy to see straight down to the roll. I believe packaging tape looks best when it's clear so these rolls already impress me with their clarity!

What Do I Like?
I love that this tape is glossy and clear. That caught my eyeballs instantly! I was amazed by how quiet this roll of tape operates - usually packing tape has that loud KSSSZZZZT sound when you pull it (a sound I hate) but this stuff is amazing and actually quiet. There's little tabs before the edge that hold the open end of the tape so you never have to dig around the roll to peel back the last bit you used (I also hated doing this because I'd make a mess and never tear evenly - something I hate MORE than digging around the roll!). Despite the bigger size of these dispensers and tape rolls, it's still easy to use by yourself.
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Note the little pokey arms that hold the tape in place - and the roller on the left (the Duck E-Z Start Premium Packaging Tape With Dispenser featured below) for gliding over boxes and such. Also note the size difference. Isn't the baby one adorable?!
What Don't I Like?
A few things concern me about this particular product. The dispenser feels "loose". It works perfectly well but it doesn't feel very snug and it feels like it may break if dropped, so be careful! Furthermore, all three rolls are wrapped in plastic. I think there could be a better way to package these products with less plastic so let's hope Duck gets on that! And, as usual...I think the dispensers should be made of recycled plastic, and the cardboard on the inside should be recycled materials as well.

Duck E-Z Start Premium Packaging Tape With Dispenser - $4.73
This pack is a metallic silver plastic one-handed dispenser with a 55 yard roll of tape. Compared to the Duck EZ Start Premium Packaging Tape, this dispenser is much smaller and obviously meant to be easily used with one hand. It also has the same amazing crystal clear look (with twice the thickness) and I can see right through to the roll in the middle. It looks so clean and beautiful that I was hesitant to use it! Imagine how pretty this will make your packages look when you send them off to your pen pals!

What Do I Like?
Just like the Duck EZ Start Premium Packaging Tape, I love this crystal clear tape and glossy looks! It's really quiet to use (again, no KSSSZZZT - or however I spelled it last) and I love the size of the dispenser and tape roll. This is a preferred size for me. I will be putting this into my regular stationery drawer for packing parcels and such.

What Don't I Like?
The dispenser should be made of recycled plastic, and the cardboard on the inside should be recycled materials as well.
Zebra Printed Duck Tape - $5.99
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This is a 10 yard single roll of duct tape with a zebra design! I have always loved duct tape since I was younger (I really don't know why but I do recall making a duct tape wallet but without instructions... believe me, it was difficult to make that without sticking tape to everything) and I have been itching to get a "color" roll of duct tape from this brand for awhile (this is particular what Kevin wouldn't let me get...hmph!).

What Do I Like?
This is a fun pattern and makes boring, bland grey duct tape look...well...boring. No compromise in the quality of the product - it's just more fun than your run-of-the-mill duct tape! I have sampled mine to funkify my pink Sharpie, and also to identify mine from Kevin's (because the colors aren't obvious, right?).
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Obviously, I could not live without this funky duct tape because I MUST do this to all my Sharpies.
Great for the work place! And I ripped it by myself -  no scissors needed! It's not disgustingly tacky and holds very well (a far cry from the duct tape I used to make my duct tape wallet... maybe that's why it was such a mess). It even can be smushed flat on to whatever surface you're sticking it, preventing unsightly bumps in the tape. Everyone should have a roll of duct tape around the home - they always come in handy.
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It's a bit messy but not as bad as most duct tapes.
What Don't I Like?
This whole roll of tape is plastic-covered. I think it's a waste of packaging and if it's necessary to protect the extra sticky ends of duct tape, perhaps Duck can come up with a way to just cover the sides of the roll and not the entire thing (including the empty space in the middle of the roll). Once again, this doesn't affect the performance of the product! Like the other products, I wish the cardboard on the inside was made of recycled materials.

I love all these products! I looove tape and these three rolls are premium quality - no cheap junk here! They are glossy, crystal clear, and very pretty. They perform very well - quietly and effectively - and are well worth it. I wish there were some recycled materials incorporated into these products and a bit less packaging. If these changes are made, I'll be a 100% happy camper!

Disclaimer and reminder: These office supplies were sent for review by Shoplet. I was not paid to write this review, but I do get to keep these cool products.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Mailbox Goodies: A Chocolate Theme

Welcome back for another round of mailbox goodies! This time, our mailbox goodies came from the UK. Remember when Pens and Paper Co. presented their list of favorites (ink/pens/retailers, etc), and they also had a giveaway for a bottle of Diamine Chocolate Brown? I won! Wheeee!

On Saturday (last weekend), I received the delightful parcel containing a bottle of this yummy ink. But! There were also some other goodies in there… In total, the contents were as follows:

80 ml Diamine Chocolate Brown Ink
1 Cadbury Creme Egg
1 Aero Mint Lamb

All adorably wrapped! (I also saved the black paper because it smells delicious). I very much loved this chocolate-themed parcel! Thank you!!
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Follow PensPaperToo on Twitter!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Giveaway: Notebook Stories

Hello my lovely friends. If you head over to Notebook Stories, you can try your luck at winning a sample of Banditapple Carnets! (Of course, by you trying your luck, it reduces the likelihood that I'll win but I'm very generous that way). Why are you still here? Go! Go!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Review: Pentel EnerGel Euro Black 0.5 mm Needle Point

I am usually a big fan of Pentel pens, and in particular, I really like the EnerGel series. I didn't even realize Pentel made the EnerGel in a liquid ink needle point so I was pretty excited to try this pen out!
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This pen classifies itself as a liquid gel pen. I'm not sure how it differs from a liquid ink or a gel ink pen, but it is a top notch performer so I won't complain. Overall, it's modern and simple, in a good way - it's good for any setting!

The body is the typical size one would expect from a gel ink or liquid ink pen. Average barrel size, average length, etc. This pen differs in its gorgeous color - it's a deep royal blue with a very subtle sheen that makes it look almost glittery, but not quite (so it remains masculine in the best way possible). The body widens towards the cap. The cap itself is cool - the end indicates the color of the ink, and denotes the nib size. It also has sweet slices on it which makes it look like it moves super fast through the water. Or something.

There's a small latex-free grip that has fun swirls on it. It's not a cushioned grip so don't expect it to soften your grip - it's just there so your fingers don't slip around as you write. The clip is chrome colored which I usually don't like but it matches this pen well (and only the clip is chromed colored so it's not overwhelming). It has an angled edge so it glides onto your stack of papers for clipping purposes.

One of my favorite things about this pen is the wicked snug CLICK of the cap when you close the pen or post it. It is one of the most satisfying, seductive clicks I have ever experienced in a pen and for that alone, I want to have a million of these pens and place them everywhere so I can click them at whim.

How does it write?
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Well, if you have ever tried the Pentel EnerGel series, you know that they're fabulous and this pen is no different. It writes great - smooth and solid black lines, even though it's a 0.5 mm. The needle point stays true to the 0.5 mm size too! I loved doodling with this because I was able to do such fine detail with little effort - I can only imagine how awesome the 0.35 mm tip is.
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This took a long time.
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Sometimes with needle points, they tend to skip or collect fibers from the paper and get clogged - but it doesn't happen with this one. The tip isn't so sharp that it scratches, and it doesn't skip, even after just sitting in my drawer for awhile. It's great to write with. Also, the nib section looks like a teeny weeny little rocket ship.
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Pentel EnerGels - Euro needle point on top, gel ink on bottom.
It barely bled through my Ikea notebook and the paper in that isn't all that thick, so if you like liquid ink pens but are always worried about the bleed through, this one may be a saviour! It didn't smudge or smear while I was doodling my Zentangle, which is good for left-handed writers. And as I was doodling, the ink dried almost instantly. This pen really has a lot going for it.

Another thing I love about this pen (yeah, I know, you're probably sick of hearing me harp about the earth and whatnot) is that it's part of the Pentel Recycology program. In this case, the body is made of 54% recycled material. Yes, it's not 100%, but it's better than nothing, right?
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Given that it's part of the Recycology program, you'd think it would be refillable but it's not. Maybe Pentel will change that in the future...

That, and as usual, there aren't enough colors available. The regular EnerGels come in purple and green in addition to the regular colors - why is there no purple and green for the Euros?? I think that would be awesome.

Similar reviews of this good-lookin' pen:
Pen Addict
Office Supply Geek
Pocket Blonde

JetPens - $2.75

I am a big fan of this pen - great design, great *click*, and it writes really smoothly as well as consistently. I wish I was back in school because I'd put a few of these in my pencil case. If you haven't tried these and you like liquid inks, gel inks, needle points, or the EnerGel series, you should try the EnerGel Euro!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Happy 1st Birthday Ellie Bean!

Friday (March 9) marked our little Ellie's first birthday! Yes, this post is late. My parents are visiting and I've barely had a chance to get online (hence my lax posting - sorry). If you've never met a Havana Brown, I can't tell you how wonderful they are. They are low maintenance and wonderful, sweet cats! If you're afraid or wary of cats, they're great for easing the introduction (but then... so are Ragdolls)...
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Happy birthday Ellie Bean!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Giveaway at Letters & Journals

Head over to Letters & Journals for a Poodle, Pens, and Ink giveaway!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Mailbox Goodies: Pink Ikea Sketchbook

I recently won this awesome sketchbook at Anika’s blog: Aisforanika. Thank you Anika for holding this great giveaway and sharing this sketchbook that I ever so much love now!
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Sorry about the intense color on the left there...
This sketchbook has is a hardcover sweet pink raspberry color. It’s sort of a fabric with textured trees. It is also coiled (real metal coils!) with plain white paper and an elastic to hold it closed. The advantage to real coils is: my cats can’t destroy them when they inevitably try to eat them (oh the joy of bengals), and these coils are really smooth for turning the page. The paper is surprisingly decent - smooth with just the right amount of tooth. It's a bit on the thin side, but I can't complain much about that. It's a steal at a few dollars. Let's hope Ikea brings it back!
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Takes gel inks really well
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Fountain pen ink bleeds through but that's not a big deal either.
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Just messing around.
The best part about this sketchbook though is the removable lined plastic sheet which can be used behind each page for a writing guide, or to catch bleed through (and because it’s plastic, the bleed through can be easily wiped off!). 
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Ah! The highlight!
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I don’t usually care for coils because they can also get squished and it wrecks the pages when you try to turn them. I am very pleased that these coils are so sturdy.  I love being able to turn pages completely, tucking them back, and being able to write with the cover acting like a clipboard. It’s just so comfy.

The only downside is the elastic is attached through the back cover with metal clasps and that has damaged the last page. Plus, when getting down to the last few pages, it leaves bumps in the paper so it’s a bit annoying to write on. However, it’s not a huge deal. 
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Poo. You've ruined my last page!
I am really enjoying doodling and writing in this journal. I so wish I could find more! I don’t know a whole lot about this journal because it was won in a giveaway, and I can’t find it ANYWHERE online (at Ikea, at least)! Apparently they’re not in Ikea stores anymore either so maybe it was just a temporary thing. I just wanted to share with you this awesome win, and how surprisingly great it is for the price!
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And look! More Sketchbook!
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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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