Make Notes for Your Life

After the last review posted regarding Roaring Spring Paper Products from Shoplet.com, I was not eager to post another.  Thankfully, this next set of notebooks proved to be much better quality and much more affordable.

The “Life Notes” spiral notebooks from Roaring Spring Paper Products are small, personal notebooks measuring 7″ x 5″.  They have 380 college ruled sheets and include one double pocket page in the front.   I received four of these notebooks in varying colors:

  • a blue cover with metallic silver music notes and blue paper,
  • a purple cover with a metallic purple steaming coffee mug graphic and purple paper,
  • a green cover with a metallic green beach chair and umbrella graphic and green paper, and
  • a pink cover with a metallic gold chef’s hat graphic and pink paper.


I was initially concerned about how fountain pen ink would perform and look on the colored paper, as I most prefer bright white paper to preserve the integrity of the ink colors and properties.   However, I was actually really pleasantly surprised once I started using these notebooks.  The ink actually showed up quite well on all the different colored papers and I was still able to see some of the inks’ special in properties such as shading.   There was also no bleedthrough and very minimal showthrough, allowing me to successfully write on both sides of the page and get as much usage and longevity of these notebooks as possible.  The sheets also have a perforation if you need to cleanly remove any sheets.

I posted the purple and green paper samples, but the results are the same on all of the colors.  The inks used for testing are (from top to bottom):  Iroshizuku Ku-Jaku, J. Herbin Bleu Nuit, Sheaffer Red, Sharpie Premium Pen, and a purple Sharpie Marker.

These notebooks came in really handy to take to conferences and other events for taking notes and I did enjoy using them.  While I would probably invest in higher-end notebooks for home use, I would purchase these to take on trips, conferences, or other locations where I wouldn’t be upset if a notebook was damaged or lost.  Shoplet.com sells this pack of 4 notebooks for $10.75 per pack, and they are on Amazon for $12.


This is a Good Sign

Today’s review is of a set of notebooks from Roaring Spring Paper Products.   Shoplet.com sent me several different products from Roaring Spring so you’ll see several reviews from Roaring Spring products over the coming weeks.  Let’s get to it!

“This is a Good Sign” Notebooks

The first set of products is a few different notebooks from the “This is a Good Sign” series.  These notebooks are 70 sheets, college ruled, and measure 11 x 8.5.”   These are spiral notebooks with a three hole punch and are very typical of spiral notebooks one would use in school.  These would be good for children or students that need single subject spiral notebooks in their classes.  I have personally been using them on my desk at work, on phone calls to take notes, or to jot down whatever things I need to jot down. The cover designs are not ones I would typically choose, but I do really like the messages they display.   All of the covers have a traffic-type sign that says “This is a Good Sign” —  a funny pun and a positive message.  My favorite of the group is probably the purple cover that that says “Do What You Love / Love What You Do”  because I like how they combined both sentences of this important truth of life.

The paper in the notebook works very well with your normal ball point pen.  When using fountain pens and fountain pen ink there is significant showthrough and bleedthrough, such that when using a fountain pen you can only write on one side of the paper.  I find this is actually quite wasteful and I would rather be able to use both sides of the paper on each page.   Fountain pen ink also tends to feather on this paper, and while it’s not the worst I’ve seen, it is slightly noticeable.  Ballpoint pens are really the ideal type of pens for these notebooks.  The ballpoint still yields minimal showthrough, although not enough to prevent using both sides of the paper.  This notebook also works well with pencils so they would be good for people who like to write with pencils or for students that need to do math homework in a notebook.

Another unfortunate aspect of purchasing these notebooks is that they only seem to be available in a case quantity — a fact I was not made aware of when Shoplet.com sent me the product.  So if you are interested in a case of 24 notebooks, it is available on Shoplet.com for $75.60.  Personally, I would rather save the $3.14 a notebook and put it towards one I can buy individually with better paper quality.  Apologies to you for having not known about the price issue ahead of time, but I still had to post the review after receiving the product.


Montblanc Releases New Princesse Grace de Monaco Fountain Pen

Montblanc has just announced a New Princesse Grace de Monaco Writing Instrument.   This fountain pen features an ivory resin body with platinum plated fittings and a pink topaz stone.  It seems to only come with fine or medium nibs, which is a bit disappointing to those who like fancier nibs.  However, this pen does not seem like a “creative nib” kind of pen to me, so I think the fine or medium choice is fitting.

Photo via Montblanc.

This pen is very similar to the previous Princess Grace edition which featured the same stone and styling, but with a deep purple resin body.   I feel like the ivory body fits Princess Grace more than the deep purple, although a light baby blue would have also complimented her essence nicely.

I have not written with this pen, but my guess is that you will probably like it if you have and like other Montblanc pens.  I tried the Montblanc Ingrid Bergman pen (review here) a few years back, and was disappointed with a dragging nib.  Just based on looks alone, this new Princess Grace pen is a winner as it completely compliments my style.

The new Princess Grace de Monaco Fountain Pen retails at $1,035 at Montblanc’s website and stores.

Review: Levenger True Writer Obsidian Fountain Pen

It’s been a little while since I’ve posted a pen review, but I’m now happy to tell you about one of my new favorite pens, the Levenger True Writer in Obsidian.

Appearance:  This is a nice looking pen!  This True Writer (“TW”) is black with “silver” accents.  I say “silver” because it is unclear from the product information whether the rings and clip are chrome or some other type of silver-colored metal.  The cap is black with a “silver” contoured clip and ring and then pen also has a cap ring engraved with “Levenger” and “True Writer.”  The body has another “silver” ring at the bottom and both the cap and bottom end of the pen have black jewels to match the body.  The section is also black.  The photo on the pen’s product page makes the black look more matte, but it’s actually very glossy.



Body:  The pen measures 5 1/2″ in length, 5/8″ diameter and weighs 0.77 oz.

I normally prefer thinner/medium pens over fat pens, and upon first use I felt the body/section was a little too wide.  However, after using the TW for only a few minutes I got used to the the width and now I barely notice it — even after switching between the TW and thinner pens.  It’s actually nice to have a bit of a fatter pen on certain days as it is quite comfortable to hold and use.

Nib:  Levenger nibs (this one included) are stainless steel and interchangable.  I requested a fine nib for this pen, but was sent a medium.  I was initially disappointed at this oversight, but upon first test my disappointment turned to pleasant surprise as this particular medium is on the fine side of medium and is actually just about the width for which I was hoping.  Levenger nibs have a tendency to be inconsistent in their widths, meaning some fines are finer than others, some mediums are more fine or more broad, etc.  It really just depends on which nib you get.  The nibs unscrew at the bottom of the section and thus can be exchanged with any other Levenger nib.  I had a slight problem with the converter/section/nib combo where the nib started unscrewing on its own and the ink leaked onto my fingers.  However, once I tightened it all was well again.

On first test the nib also seemed really stiff, however, I flexed it a little to spread the tines and after that the nib has been springy and very comfortable to use.

Caution:  be careful if you flex the tines on your Levenger nib because these nibs are not flex nibs.


Performance:  Some TW users recommend cleaning or soaking the nib to remove any factory oils that may be present, but I decided to try it as is and see how it performed.  The flow was great from the first touch of nib to paper and the nib was perfectly smooth.  I filled the converter only part way the first time, and the nib started drying out close to the end of the ink reservoir, but before the pen was actually out of ink.  Concerned, I filled it again so it was full and while I did have one more dry nib issue, it has been performing reliably since then.

This pen comes with one mini-cartridge and one converter.  I chose to use the converter so I could pick my ink of choice.  I initially inked the TW with Iroshizuku Ku-Jaku (review forthcoming) and they have been great friends.  The flow is wet, although I think that is due to both the pen and the ink, as Ku-Jaku tends to have excellent flow.


Overall:  The Levenger TW is now one of my new favorite pens, and definitely my favorite modern pen so far.  It is visually sleek, well-balanced, comfortable to use, and reliable.   I would definitely recommend this pen.

However, I did have some problems with the Levenger employees/customer service reps.  I had called the company’s toll-free number for some information and both people I spoke to were extremely rude to me and refused to answer my questions.  For that reason I am hesitant to support the Levenger company itself with my hard-earned money.  I found this to be unfortunate, as it seems they make good products and I was hoping to become a regular Levenger customer.

***UPDATE 4/7/14****  I was contacted by Levenger’s Director of Marketing to find out about my bad customer service experience.  He was quite apologetic and the company has already taken steps to handle the conduct of the employees.  It seems my experience was rare and now I feel much more comfortable endorsing Levenger’s commitment to excellent customer service.  The company really does care about their products and reputation, so I am glad this situation was corrected. I am happy to continue to support Levenger and will bring you more reviews of Levenger products in the future.

Price:  The pen retails for $59 on Levenger.com.  Also available on Amazon – medium nib here and fine nib here.

Here’s a bonus box shot for those of you who love the boxes!


Review: Kantek Rotating Desktop Tablet Stand

I realize this product is a little different than those I normally review, but I originally got this Kantek Rotating Desktop Tablet Stand courtesy of Shoplet.com because I thought it would also be useful for propping up papers while working.  I thought I could prop my papers up facing me to ease strain on my neck from alternating between working on the computer and looking down at my desk at my notes.  Unfortunately, this stand was not good for propping up papers as the stand is too short and the papers fall over the back.  However, it is great as a tablet stand, which is it’s intended purpose.

IMG_3216 IMG_3217

The stand is made from black plastic and it feels fairly sturdy.  I am itching to maybe decorate it with some metallic Sharpie pens (review forthcoming) or some crystals.  The base rotates, which is a nice feature.  Another really helpful feature is that the little space where the tablet actually fits has a rubberized coating to hold the tablet securely and there is less risk of it sliding out if you hit it accidentally.  Possibly the best feature if that it folds up!  This is great for storing the stand somewhere inconspicuous when not in use.  I love that feature because I definitely do not want to look at things taking up space on my desk when they are not needed.  I haven’t used other tablet stands so I cannot say how they compare, however, I think this product does the job well.

I think the most use for this tablet would be watching a video on a tablet, reading a book on the tablet, or even using this stand in the kitchen if you like to have your recipes on your tablet.  I only photographed the tablet in a vertical position, but you can also use the tablet horizontally as shown on the packaging photograph above.


The Kantek Rotating Desktop Tablet Stand sells for $19.99 at Shoplet.com.


(Shoplet asked me to include the following links to products/services provided by Shoplet, so here they are:  Office Supplies, Tablet StandPromotional ProductsPromotional ShirtsOffice Stationery)

Review: House of Doolittle Monthly Desk Pad Calendar with Large Notes Section

This product was sent to me for review by the kind people at House of Doolittle and Shoplet.com.

I don’t really use these types of calendars (and didn’t know this was being sent to me), so I am going to refer to you to my review on the House of Doolittle Weekly/Monthly Planner and my more recent review on the House of Doolittle Weekly Business Planner for comments on the quality of product and paper.  It is my guess that this desk pad calendar lives up to the same quality as the planner.  For someone that does use this type of desk pad calendar, I think it would be a great choice!


You can purchase this product for $6.90 + shipping from Shoplet.com by clicking here.

(Shoplet asked me to include the following links to products/services provided by Shoplet, so here they are:  Office SuppliesBusiness Planner2014 CalendarPromotional ProductsPromotional ShirtsOffice Stationery)

Step Forward Paper – Show Through and Bleed Through

In my last post about Step Forward Paper, I somehow forgot to discuss show through and bleed through.  Unfortunately, I disposed of my sample paper so I cannot use the same sample for comparison.  From my memory, there was very minimal show through.  I do not recall any bleed through, and if there was it was minimal and only on the very wet and thick black ink.   The concern for many is writing on both sides of the paper, and my recommendation is that YES, one can definitely write on both sides of Step Forward Paper with a fountain pen.

I did a quick test below with Sheaffer Black ink in a vintage fine point Lady Sheaffer.

New Design?

I am debating changing the page design of La Plume Etoile and would like your opinion!

Please view the screenshots below and let me know which you like the best in the poll at the bottom of this post. I will take all of your opinions into consideration for my decision.  You can click on the thumbnails for larger photos.

Thank you!

Which Site Design Do You Like Best?
pollcode.com free polls 

Review: Daycraft Skinz Notebooks (Journals)

Today I bring you two very cool journals by Daycraft from the “Skinz” line.  Because the journals are almost the same, I am including both of them in this review and I will highlight the differences when necessary.  A cool thing about these journals is that they both come with a page of temporary tattoos (pictured below)!

Cover: The covers are made from “fine Italian PU.”  “PU” is polyurethane, which for this journal is like synthetic leather.  One journal has a cream colored base with some artwork featuring guns and the slogan “Make My Day.”  The other journal features the same slogan with a silver cover and artwork of a skull with roses.  I prefer the silver skull cover, as the silver has a metallic sheen making it actually silver and not grey.

Size: Both journals are the same size at 102mm x 146 mm (that’s about 4″ x 5.74″ for those of us that use the imperial system).

Paper: The paper in these journals is 100gsm, printed with 6.5mm spaced lines.  The “gun” journal has ivory paper and the “skull” journal has white paper.  Both are fountain pen friendly without feathering except when using the wettest inks.  Normal flow inks were fine and performed well.  There was also minimal show-through, allowing for writing on both sides of the pages.  I preferred the white paper because I found the inks to be a little drier on the ivory paper.  The white paper also really allowed the several inks I used to show their true color brightness, shading, and potential, whereas the ivory paper muted the colors a bit.  However, many people prefer ivory paper so that is a personal preference.  All the paper is printed with a tribal tattoo-type artwork at the top of each page.  The “guns” journal also had red edging on the paper and one sheet of red at the front and the back of the journal and inside the cover.  The “skull” journal had grey paper inside the cover and no edging on the white paper.

Other Considerations:  Both journals did a great job of staying open and lying flat when writing – a definite plus.  The only thing I would have added is a little ribbon strip to mark my current page.  Since these journals didn’t have an attached ribbon, I used the tattoo sheet to hold my place.

Overall: Because of the smaller size and 128 pages, I did fill up these journals faster than the larger sized journals I normally use.   However, I really liked them and would definitely use them again.  Visit Daycraft’s website at http://www.daycraft.com.hk to see more.  The journals run HK$ 149.00, which is just over $19 USD.