Notebook Review: Trigg Gratitude Journal

Notebook Review: Trigg Gratitude Journal

The Trigg Gratitude Journal (£13.99) is a guided gratitude journal from the makers of the Trigg Life Mapper planner system. This A5 matte faux-leather hardcover journal features prompts, quotes and a variety of page layouts that create a place where you can pause and reflect. The notebook starts with some direction about how and when to use a gratitude journal.

The goal of this gratitude journal is to help find happiness in your life and improve personal resilience when things get tough.

Throughout the notebook, there are inspiring quotes, mandalas that you can color, and an assortment of guided prompts to explore positive aspects, people and things in your life.

I am a cynic and a bit of a salty b*tch so looking for the bright side, being grateful and staying positive always feels a bit forced for me. I am 100% the person the Grievance Journal was made for. But I totally understand why and how the Trigg Gratitude Journal can be helpful.

I am also the person who needs guided prompts to get me to even think about “10 things I like about myself” and, trust me, filling this page in would be a painful and emotionally wrought activity.  I know. Therapy.

There were a few “notes’ pages in the back of the notebook that I used for pen testing.

While the structure and concept behind this planner is it’s raison d’etre , I am sure you’re asking, “How’s the paper?”

The paper is a bright white compared to the Trigg Life Mapper which features a softer ivory paper. I am pretty sure its the same paper stock though as I had similar results with some bleedthrough from fountain pens and a little showthrough with darker or broader brush pens, though it was pretty minor.

The paper had a “dry” feeling. I know that seems like a strange way to describe paper but it did feel like it wanted to absorb inks though the overall result was not terrible. No pen feathered. The mystery ink in my ProColor seems to bleed on most papers so I wasn’t overly surprised. There was a bit of show through with the Pilot Custom 912 with the FA nib but that is a flex nib and dumps a lot of ink on the paper.

Overall, I found gel pens, rollerball and felt tip pens performed well on the paper. The brush pens also did really well and fountain pen ink did okay, YMMV.

If you are looking for a notebook to help focus on gratitude, the amount of content in the Trigg Gratitude Journal is excellent providing a range of activities. I have to admit, I want to spend an hour coloring a couple of the mandala designs in the journal. I feel like this is a notebook where the content provided outweighs the potential fountain pen-incompatibility. If you need to get your gratitude on, grab those seldom used gel pens, markers, colored pencils and such and dive in. Sometimes, content is more important than the fountain pen-friendliness.

DISCLAIMER: The items included in this review were provided free of charge by Think Trigg for the purpose of review. Please see the About page for more details.

Notebook Review: Traveler’s Short Trip Passport Size

While at the California Pen Show, I was able to score a few samples from the Traveler’s/Plotter table. Not that I needed any Traveler’s Notebook samples. I’ve been a loyal fan of Traveler’s for …. hmmmm… over a decade now! But it was a delight to revisit some of the classic refills. Because Traveler’s is part of the Midori product family, much of the paper included in the refills is Midori but I often forget that. This particular sample, a “Refill for a Short Trip” in Passport Size. This insert only include 32 pages compared to the regular Passport inserts that feature 64 pages but features the same high quality Midori MD paper in the cream color.

The Midori MD Cream paper has a slight tooth to it making it good for all around use and it stands up to pretty much any pen you can throw at it.  I had no issues with feathering, even with my Pilot Custom 912 with the FA nib.

It’s a thinner paper so there is some show through but no bleed through at all. I have a soft spot for the Midori MD Cotton and Midori MD Light, so much so that I had forgotten how good the standard Midori MD paper was. Honestly, I don’t think there’s much more I can say about Midori MD paper that hasn’t been said already but its nice to take another look at the classics. They are classics for a reason. Thanks for the sample, Traveler’s Company, and for reminding me that I love this paper!

DISCLAIMER: The items included in this review were provided free of charge by Traveler’s Company USA for the purpose of review. Please see the About page for more details.

Link Love: Feelin’ Peachy

Link Love: Feelin’ Peachy

It’s that time again! The Atlanta Pen Show starts tomorrow. Well, at least for vendors and folks traveling for the show. I will hopping on a plane tomorrow with pens, sample vials, Emergen-C and my faithfull suitcase, R2-D2. The Atlanta Show is a special show for me. It was my very first pen show back in 2015. It was the first show I attended post-pandemic. I’ve made new friends at the show and caught up with people I’ve know for years.

This year, I will be helping out at the Vanness Pen Shop table as usual and Jesi will be helping at Dromgoole’s table. Between the two of us we should be able to find the perfect ink, paper or pen for you. When we are not on the show floor, you can probably find us in the bar or next door at the Waffle House fueling up.

If you are planning to attend the show, please be sure to stop by and say hello to us. Visiting with friends is the best part of the show.

Be sure to live vicariously through us next week and we will be sure to post some photos of the show.



Notebooks & Paper:

Art & Creativity:

Pen Shows:

Other Interesting Things:

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Atlanta Pen Show Weekend

Friends! This weekend is the Atlanta Pen Show and half “the Desk” will be in attendance. Ana will be her delightful pink-haired self at the Vanness tables, and Jesi will be ink-whispering for Dromgooles. If you’re in the area, this really is a don’t miss show. And stop by and say hi – Ana and Jesi would love to meet you!

This is last year’s Atlanta video (2022)!

For those of us who are having a serious case of FOMO, there is a wonderful way to virtually visit the show. On Friday afternoon, sometime between 3 and 4pm EST, Mike Matteson from Inkdependence will broadcast live on YouTube from the show, and take you on a tour of the vendor market. He’ll chat with vendors, see some friendly faces along the way and generally make you feel ALMOST like you’re really there. And if you can’t make it live, the broadcasts are recorded so you can peruse them at your leisure. It’s a great way to get a feel for a pen show, see new merch from vendors you love, and more! While it will never take the place of actually getting to attend a show, it’s a fun experience and Mike does a great job. (and I may have succumbed to a little online shopping in the past… allegedly).

Planner Review: Paperblanks Planner

Planner Review: Paperblanks Planner

I grabbed a copy of the Paperblanks Midi Planner ($6.88 on sale, $22.95 USD/$24.95CAD at full price) recently when I was ordering even more of the heavyweight paper Midi notebooks which have become my go-to notebook these days. I wanted to give the thinner 80gsm paper Paperblanks make another chance and the sale price made it hard to resist. The design is called the Floralia and it is so riveting.  The matte black cover features a beautiful print of flowers and some shimmer and sparkle accents on the flowers. As the light catches the art on the cover, the flowers look like they are popping off the cover.

The cover is a soft flexi with two ribbon bookmarks (sealed so they don’t fray!) and the Midi size is B6-ish at 4.75″ x 6.75″. B6 is 4.9 x 6.9 in (12.5 x 17.6 cm) so the Midi-sized notebooks will fit into any B6-sized notebook cover (another bonus for me since my daily carry notebook cover is B6).

Before the monthly calendars is a two-page year-at-a-glance spread with 2022 and 2023 and a key for the symbols used through the planner which include the first day of spring, first day of autumn, the moon phases and when daylight savings starts/ends (though it was not accurate to the US. Paperblanks is a Canadian company).

I bought the “horizontal no closure” version of the planner, which is essentially a standard week-on-two-pages design with a month-on-a-page in the front. The edition I got was an 18-month version that started in July 2022. The 80gsm paper means the book is not overly bulky and the 18-month model would be great for anyone who is in academia or who might be looking for a planner switch-up mid-year. The paper is acid-free, sustainable forest paper.

In the back of the planner are:

  • international holidays for dozens of countries
  • year-at-a-glance calendars for 2024 and 2025
  • international dialing codes (so retro!!)
  • some time zone clocks
  • clothing conversion size charts
  • quick glance measurement conversions for imperial to metric
  • travel planning and important dates page
  • 14 notes pages, lined
  • 14 pages for address keeping

The paper is a creamy ivory color and has a slight tooth to it. In my usability test, I wasn’t expecting the paper to be fountain pen friendly because its so lightweight but I often grab whatever pen is handy to write in my planner so I want paper to be at least tolerant of fountain pens. There was a bit of showthrough on the reverse of the page but its not terrible and I think the ink I have been using is particularly wet and inclined to bleed.

I have started adding some daily events and notes. I know not everyone loves lines in the notebooks but for some reason, I don’t mind the lines in the Paperblanks planners. There is a slightly wider line between each day making a clean delineation between all the lines.

When you look at the reverse of the weekly page, the olive ink had some show through but the purple ink (I am pretty sure that’s Monteverde Birthday Cake in a Sailor ProGear with a H-MF nib) did not show through at all.

I used the notes pages to do some pen testing. I really like when planners work well with a lot of different kinds of pens because I just never know when I need to jot down an event. I might have been sketching and had a pencil in hand or I just grab a gel pen out of the cup on my table. The Paperblanks 80gsm paper really isn’t terrible. There is minor show through but very little bleed through. For a thin non-Japanese paper, its beyond acceptable. I would compare it to Leuchtturm 1917 for being a good all-around paper. If you are inclined to use super broad, juicy fountain pens, these 80gsm notebooks from Paperblanks might not be for you.

But if you, like me, has a rainbow of felt tip, gel, rollerball, pencils AND fountain pens, these planners might be a good option. And at the clearance prices, it could be worth giving them a try.

Reverse side of the writing samples shown above. Even the Pilot Custom 912 with the flexible FA nib, did not bleed like the olive ink. I wish I could remember what that olive ink was… I think it was something I filled at the LA Pen Show from an assortment of inks Jesi brought.
Reverse side of the writing sample from previous photo.

I realize that I am a bit biased about Paperblanks but I think they don’t get a lot of props from the pen community and the books are really good quality. No, they are not Hobonichi, Tomoe River or Midori MD paper but they are better than so many other options at reasonable prices (even when they are not on sale).

DISCLAIMER: Some items included in this review were provided free of charge for the purpose of review. Some items were purchased with funds from our amazing Patrons. You can help support this blog by joining our Patreon. Please see the About page for more details.

It’s not easy being green.

Ana and I were chatting last night and we’ve noticed something about a lot of the limited edition, 2023 pens. Let me add a few photos…

Pelikan Souverän 800 Green Demonstrator ($774 via Nibsmith)
Sailor 1911 Pen of the Year 2023, Golden Olive ($312 via Pen Chalet)
Benu Euphoria in New Year 2023 Limited Edition ($165 via Goldspot)

Did I miss the green for 2023 memo? There are a few interesting finds that aren’t green. For instance the Limited Edition Carousel from Ferris Wheel Press ($90 via Jenni Bick) is rosy. The new TWSBI Eco is Persian Green ($32.99 via Pen Boutique), but it’s definitely got more blue in it. And Lamy, well, they’ve just decided to reissue previous colors on different bodies.

So what do you think? Is green giving you good vibes for this year? Are there other limited edition pens you’re digging in other colors?

Ink Review: New Kyo-no-oto Inks

Ink Review: New Kyo-no-oto Inks

Kyoto TAG has released two new inks in their Kyo-no-oto line: Seiheki and Yurushiiro. As with all inks in this line, the ink comes packaged in heavy card stock with the ink line in letterpress print. A big thank you to Dromgoole’s for sending these bottles for review!

Both Seiheki and Yurushiiro come in 40mL glass bottles priced at $28 a bottle bringing the ink to $0.70 per mL – not an inexpensive ink, but far from the $1 per mL of some recent Sailor inks!

As soon as I opened the package, I noticed that the ink looked almost cloudy. Not opaque like pigmented ink, but not as clear as I would expect.

You can see a bit of particulate in the ink – it isn’t sparkling though.

Swatching the inks, it became obvious that the consistency is unusual – there is definitely an opaqueness present. This didn’t translate into an actual thickness of the ink while writing, however.

The first ink I’ll look at here is Kyo-no-oto Seiheki. From the Dromgoole’s site:

“SEIHEKI is a dull blue-green color that would look similar to the daytime sky. ‘Sei’ means blue and ‘heki’ means green-blue stone which originates from ancient times

The color of nature, especially the sky, would stay in the briefest instant. The shorter the time remain, the memory of the color may even be more beautifully remembered. Especially in the middst of the change of the seasons, the color will change every moment. ‘Shogyo-mujo’ is the Japanese word to describe the transience of all phenomena. Many things are impermanent and change with short lives. Those new colors are our message to describe such momentary colors with lyrical images based on traditional Kyoto colors.

*This is a new type of ink combining fine pigments and dyes. The hue changes at the beginning and end of writing.

To realize the special effect, this ink contains small particles of pigment. Please wash the ink feeder and pens completely before you will use other ink with the same pen.”

Seiheki and Yurushiiro are pigment inks, but only a small amount of pigment. While I have inked up pens with each of the inks here today, I have not yet had enough time to report on the writing experience.

Seiheki is a lovely blue-green close to Wearingeul Resurrection with a touch more blue.

On Midori MD paper:

On Cosmo Air Light 83gsm paper:

On the same CAL paper as above, but angled to show a bit of the texture on paper:

And finally on Tomoe River (TR7) 52gsm paper:

Tomoe River paper seems to bring out an almost pebbled texture in the swatch of ink.

The second ink in this review is Kyo-no-oto Yurushiiro. Again from the Dromgoole’s site:

“During the Heian Period, there was a color that was not allowed to use except for certain social statuses such as royalty. Safflower red was one of those colors because of its preciousness. ‘YURUSHIIRO’ means ‘allowed color’ for everybody. ‘YURUSHIIRO is a much lighter version of Safflower red. The ink color shade was allowed for every person and was often used for daily life during the Heian period.”

Again, Yurushiiro has the same consistency and comes with the same warning that the ink contains both pigment and dye and that pens should be cleaned out well before refilling with a different ink. In writing, Yurushiiro is close to Pilot Iroshizuku Hana-Ikada (one of the three new inks from Pilot)

On Midori MD paper:

On Cosmo Air Light 83gsm paper:

Again the CAL paper but angled to show the color and texture of the ink:

And finally on Tomoe River (TR7) 52gsm paper:

Again, the pebbled texture shows up only on the Tomoe River paper.

What do you think of this new type of ink? I’m thrilled to get a chance to play with it for a while and I’ll report back on the writing experience soon!

DISCLAIMER: The ink in this post was provided free of charge by Dromgoole’s for the purpose of this review. Please see the About page for more details.