On March 28, 2018, I wrote my first blog post! I’ve been on and off writing my blog since then, taking breaks to focus on schoolwork. I’m so fortunate to have bloggers like Pen Addict and Well-Appointed Desk feature me in their links! I also tried to increase my presence on Instagram with my account @notebook_joy.
My most popular post was my Hippo Noto review I wrote back in 2018 with almost 2,500 views. I’m glad that I helped so many people learn more about these notebooks! Some of the initial concerns I had about the notebook weren’t such a big deal in the end. However, the binding is still a little flimsy. I actually backed the A5/B6 Hippo Noto Kickstarter but I still haven’t received a notebook yet. This time I’m prepared for the long wait!
I also received a lot of views on my Stationery Shopping in Japan series when I visited in 2018. It was such a great time and those posts still get consistent views. Now it will be easier for people visiting after me to find these stores.
My favorite part of blogging is that I can help people to make informed decisions when purchasing stationery. I also love to post about my favorite notebooks and inks. In the future, I hope to post more, improve my photography skills, use my Instagram consistently, and hold giveaways! I should have more time to work on my blog now that I’m home for at least several months.
For whoever is still reading this, thank you for looking at my blog! I hope that I’ve spread some joy through my posts.
On Saturday, I’m going to the Baltimore Pen Show. This definitely isn’t my first show, but I thought I’d offer some tips for first-time visitors or anyone thinking of going in the future. First, what to bring:
Dip pen and notebook for ink testing
There’s usually an ink testing table with dozens of bottles and nibs, but I prefer to bring my own accoutrements. My glass dip pen is really light and easy to clean. The notebook is essential, I use it to compile all the inks I test and what inks are currently in my pens. Both make ink testing a lot easier.
Some of your favorite pens in a pen roll
You never know when you might want to show pens to other people! I still remember when a guy showed me his flex nib pen and let me write with it when I was talking to a vendor about wanting one. It was so nice of him! You could be that person for someone else. Also, pen shows are a chance to see unusual or expensive pens in person, instead of online. As long as you’re careful, bring that Pelikan with you!
I like bringing a small tote bag to carry all of my purchases. If you end up buying a lot of heavy inks, as I do, then you’ll be grateful for a sturdy bag. However, they are usually offered for free as you enter the convention.
It gets hot walking around a giant room. Remember to stay hydrated!
People often gather at the hotel bar after the pen show is over. You can meet some nice people that way!
Making plans in advance is also fun! For the DC Pen Show last summer, I went to dinner with the local DC Metro Pen Crew. It was a blast and I enjoyed seeing friends from previous meetups.
Go to the panels! They are usually free or have a minimal cost.
Don’t be afraid to talk to vendors! Everyone is really nice. Some of them remember me from previous years (Hi Lisa Vanness and Frank from Federalist Pens!). Also Brad from the Pen Addict is awesome and I love visiting him at Nock Co. 🙂
Those are my tips! I hope you enjoyed reading and you’ll have the chance to go to a pen show one day if you haven’t already. I’ve been to anime and comic conventions before but the fountain pen community is truly the kindest group I’ve been part of. I love that I share this niche hobby with so many other passionate people. I’ll write a follow up about how my day at the show went soon!
Decided to use all-black pocket notebooks for the next few months. The first three from the left are for writing down story ideas, while the last two are for random lists and doodles.
Field Notes Lunacy is my favorite FN edition by far. I was lucky to grab a pack right before they sold out everywhere. I love that it has gray paper with reticles and it’s even fountain pen friendly! There are facts about the moon on the inside pages. The set contains a full-moon, half-moon and quarter-moon cutout on the cover.
Field Notes Three Missions is another favorite because of its space mission-themed covers and light gray grid. However, it’s not fountain pen friendly so I use gel pens on the paper.
Story Supply Co. has amazing paper suitable for fountain pens. This edition, Morning, is based on misty autumn days. It has a lovely faded logo that blends in with the misty cover. I want to review this one on the blog soon.
The two on the right are for lists only. I have an Elemental pocket notebook which actually isn’t too bad except for the very dark dot grid. I don’t mind the dots for quick checklists. Then there’s the Field Notes Pitch Black, which I love but know it’s always available so I might as well use my limited edition ones for writing my story ideas.
I’m finally back from the dead! I apologize for the long absence. This semester was really difficult for me. Between dealing with my student job, annoying roommate, and dreaded homework, it was hard to keep up with my blog. I focused mostly on new extracurriculars and keeping my grades up. Unfortunately, all my creative outlets fell by the wayside, including writing this blog. 😦 However, I did find a fun new hobby: art!!!!
I always liked drawing characters from the stories I wrote. But when I got older, I was intimidated by my amazing artist friends and stopped drawing. I never really improved past stick figures. But this year, I took an intro art class and drew five pages in a sketchbook every week! I was drawing much more than ever before. One of my aforementioned artist friends also encouraged my art. This time, I didn’t let insecurity stop me but kept on trying. In six months, I definitely improved! But I still have a long way to go. Maybe later I’ll show an album of my progress. Here’s one drawing I made recently:
With the paycheck from my job, I also bought Copic markers!!! For those who don’t know, they are alcohol markers that can be blended together to make watercolor-like drawings. They are amazing but so expensive. I wish I got a whole set in Japan, but unfortunately I didn’t have enough room in my suitcase. 😦 So in December I picked out 45 individual markers for around $260. Yes expensive I know. But I already had other markers I collected over the years. My collection is now around 75 markers. I’ve wanted them for years now so I think that was a paycheck well spent.
In other news, here are some of my currently inked pens:
My current favorite ink is the Kingdom Note Thysanostoma thysanuran ink, aka the scientific name for jellyfish!!!! It’s a vibrant purple that leans more pink than blue. In my broad Sailor Nib, it shows lots of shading. It even has a hint of black sheen on Tomoe River paper! I’m going to treasure this ink because I don’t know if I’ll ever get it again.
I wrote some stories, but mostly for my creative writing classes. However, I hit the 250 page midpoint of my Hippo Noto! Despite my initial concerns, the spine did hold up. Some of the sections felt loose but didn’t fall out. As time went on, it became harder to keep the pages flat. I’m ready to move on to the next notebook but I still have 250 more pages to go. My other journals were 200-215 pages so this sure is a change. Besides the Hippo Noto are my two Field Notes I use to jot down lists and ideas.
Here are the notebooks I filled with school notes! For the first half of the semester, I wrote with fine tip gel pens, then switched to fountain pens. On the left are two 80 page Kokuyo Soft Ring notebooks and on the right are two Kokuyo Campus notebooks. I still need to write a review on the former. I obtained mine on my Japan trip but I didn’t get enough. Turns out the ones I have aren’t available online to ship to the US at all. 😦
I have tons of new blog ideas that I hope to bring to you soon. Look out for a review of a local stationery store and my thoughts on the Stalogy365, Taroko Enigma, Story Supply Co Morning, Studio C and other notebooks!
Hey, I just returned from my study abroad trip to Rome! It was such an amazing experience. I geeked out over all the Roman ruins and museums I saw. My favorite places included Ostia Antica, an ancient port town outside of Rome, the Forum, the Baths of Caracalla, and the Capitoline Museum. There was also a set of tenement apartments from the 100-400s C.E. that had cool fresco paintings and was underneath a medieval church. As an anthropology and art history double major, I was so happy to see the objects I studied in class. Stationery-wise, I didn’t see many high-quality notebooks. I found two nice ones in gift shops but I forgot to take pictures of them. I’ll try to upload them this weekend and do a quick review.
I saw some notebooks in the local pharmacy but I didn’t buy them. The paper seemed thin and floppy.
Here are some of my favorite pictures I took in Rome!
I’m going on a study abroad trip to Rome! Of course, my favorite part of packing is deciding what notebooks I will bring with me! Since this is a short overseas trip I don’t want to risk flying with fountain pens. So here’s my list:
Rhodia webbie notebook for journaling about my trip
Baron Fig vanguard just in case I have any time to write stories
Leuchtturm1917 Pocket Journal for writing down lists and random story ideas
Papermate ink joy pens
Roll of washi tape to paste in memorabilia
Regular spiral bound notebook for schoolwork
And that’s it! I’m not staying for too long otherwise I would bring more. I’ll try to look out for any cool notebooks in Italy!
In other news, I’m going to be super busy after this trip. After my return flight, I’m working on an archaeological dig for six weeks. I probably won’t be posting that much. I hope my few readers understand this hiatus! I should be back to more regular posting by July 10. Have a great summer!
So I love journaling but I have trouble coming up with what to write sometimes. It gets boring writing the day-to-day minutiae of my life. Diaries and journals don’t have to record every second of your life but are good for reflections, rants, stories about your life, etc. So here are some links to journaling prompts that have helped me out!
Hi, welcome to my blog notebookjoy! My name is Sara and I’m a college student that loves stationery!
Since I was a child, I used copious amounts of notebooks, pens and art supplies. My favorite part of going back to school was shopping for supplies. My obsession with Ticonderoga pencils, colorful notebooks, and Bic Crystal pens lasted for a long time. But over the years, I lost my enthusiasm for stationery, stressed out by school and college admissions.
One day, I read a forum thread talking about fountain pens. At first, I mocked it. Who even used fountain pens in the 21st century? But later, I came back to it. All the pretty pens and inks drew me in. Soon, I became obsessed. I went to DC Supershow 2016 and that was it.
Quality stationery motivates me to write more. Instead of typing first drafts on my computer, I write it by hand. It’s much more fun when I can use bright teal ink! Now, I have almost three A5 notebooks filled and 12 (!!!) pocket notebooks finished over the past year and a half.
I thought of starting a blog but was too nervous. But I want to help people make informed decisions about products before they buy them. I know reviews were helpful for me when I was a newbie. As a student, I still struggle to find good notebooks that work with my fountain pens, are portable, not too expensive, etc. However, I do have some good notebooks that I’ll write reviews on in the future.