A Terrible Case of the Mondays

A Terrible Case of the Mondays

This was not at all the post I was planning to publish today. But, as in the past, I look on my personal experiences as a chance to be a cautionary tale for you, my lovely readers.

Allow me to tell you what transpired today. After having to go to the eye doctor for the third time to get my prescription sorted out, I was driving back to work when CRASH!, a 22-year-old driving a zippy BMW sports coupe pulled out in from of me from behind a car turning left in center lane. He didn’t look to see if there was anyone (namely, me!) in oncoming traffic. So, he sideswiped my beloved Mini Cooper.

No one was hurt (except for my 2009 Mini Cooper, AKA Fat Charlie) and it was really just a fender bender.

Luckily, he pulled over and we exchanged information. This brings me to the point of sharing my story with you (beyond the “Poor baby!” comments which are welcomed).

Since this is the first time I’ve had a car accident in 15 years, I discovered that analog tools come in handy.

Mini Cooper accident

The most important items in your car, wallet or handbag are, of course:

  • driver’s license
  • insurance card

But it is also very advantageous to keep a few other things in your car for emergencies:

  • notepad
  • pencil and/or durable pen (I recommend a mechanical pencil and/or a space pen)

I needed to write down insurance information, time, location, etc. so having paper and pen in the car within easy reach helped reduce my stress and let me feel prepared to document what I needed without feeling flustered digging around in my bag or looking under the seat.

Having your cell phone handy is also useful to immediately document not only the damage but also for taking a quick photo of the other driver’s license, insurance card, and the license plate or the other driver’s car. I wrote things down but did manage to transpose some digits in my nervousness.

I did not get a photo of the driver’s car or plates but an eyewitness who stopped did note that the other driver’s plates were expired. UGH!

Be sure, if there are eyewitnesses, that you write down their names and phone numbers should you need them to corroborate events or other details of the events.

Mini Cooper accident

For personal comfort, I recommend keeping a few other items in the car as well. While these might not be stationery-related, again, allow me to be your cautionary tale.

  • kleenex or other facial tissue
  • any emergency medication (i.e. asthma inhaler, epi pen, etc) or document with list of necessary medication/allergies
  • granola bar, energy bar, trail mix or other packaged snack (it helps with adrenalin shakes)
  • mints (just good thing to have for any occasion but can help with nausea too)
  • blanket, wrap or towel (if you’re shaking from adrenalin, an extra blanket or wrap can help warm you or someone else up)

If you like to be fully prepared, there are emergency kits that are available in shops and online that include everything from first aid supplies, jumper cables, reflective vest and flashlight or light sticks. The Always Prepared Premium Roadside Safety Assistance Kit ($39.99) is a good example of a prepared kit.

So, there you have it. Engage your inner Scout and be prepared. And stay safe on the road, okay?

DISCLAIMER: The item in this review include affiliate links. The Well-Appointed Desk is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon. Please see the About page for more details.

Pen Review: Uni Pin Brush Pen

Pen Review: Uni Pin Brush Pen

Review by Tina Koyama

Ana recently reviewed a range of sizes and colors in the Uni Pin family of pigment fine liner pens. “Just when I thought I’d reviewed every possible brand and variety of felt-tipped or fiber-tipped pen, I find another one,” she said, and I could have said the very same thing about brush tip pens. So I had to try one more in the family – the one with the brush tip ($2.45; available in black only).

2 - Uni Pin qualities

Like the ones Ana tried, the brush tip version contains waterproof, fadeproof pigment ink.

3 - Uni Pin made in Vietnam

I like the little window in the cap that reveals the tip – a nice distinguishing feature in a vast ocean of similar brush and fine liner pens.

4 - Uni Pin cap window

The feature that attracted me when I first saw its image on JetPens is the hard, reinforced brush tip that looks like it will not mush down rapidly under my heavy drawing hand. While I love the varied lines I can get from a real bristle brush pen or one with a flexible formed tip, the brush pens I find most versatile have firm, reinforced tips like this. I’ve been using the Uni Pin regularly for about a month, and it hasn’t shown any wear or mushing down. If the tip lasts as long as the ink, I’ll be happy.

5 - Uni Pin brush tip

The Pen Addict goes on about how brush tips like this make his handwriting look awesome, and I admit that my not-nearly-as-neat-as-Brad’s writing looks a lot better using a pen like this, too. I get thicks and thins without effort, and the line variation is impressive.

6 - Uni Pin in Field Notes

The line is crisp on smooth Clairfontaine as well as on toothier Col-o-Ring Oversize paper.

7 - Uni Pin Pen paper comparison

I tested the pigment ink’s waterproof quality in a Stillman & Birn Beta sketchbook, which is sized for wet media, so ink remains on the surface a bit longer than it might on writing paper. Even so, after waiting less than a minute and then again after seven minutes, the trace of visible washed ink is minimal. Since I wouldn’t have the patience to wait longer than seven minutes if I were going to use watercolor after drawing with the brush pen, this degree of washing is acceptable.

8 - Uni Pin Pen waterproof test

In fact, I don’t use watercolor much, but I do use watercolor pencils frequently, and this sketch of our neighborhood Halloween parade shows the ink holding up well after water was applied to the pencil pigment.

9 - Uni Pin Pen sketch in Stillman & Birn Beta

Most often, I use brush pens like the Uni Pin for quick little sketches in Field Notes notebooks while riding public transportation. Even in this simple portrait, I like the subtle line variation that’s possible without much effort, and the firm tip is easier to control on bumpy bus rides. If the brush tip holds up for the life of the ink as well as I think it will, it’s a keeper. 

10 - Uni Pin brush pen in Sweet Tooth

tina-koyamaTina Koyama is an urban sketcher in Seattle. Her blog is Fueled by Clouds & Coffee, and you can follow her on Instagram as Miatagrrl.

Black Friday Round-Up 2019

While this list is not a comprehensive list of every possible pen shop sale, I hope I found most of them. I’ve been compiling the list over the past week as emails have come into my email inbox and been adding them along the way as the coupon codes have come up. If your favorite online retailer did not show up on this list, don’t fret. It may have been an oversight on my part. My apologies.

Blog Sponsors (listed alphabetically):


A great Dutch shop is Appelboom and they are celebrating Black Friday even though they didn’t gorge on pumpkin pie yesterday. Check out their sale page for up to 60% off select items. Prices are valid through Sunday but these are all individual items so act fast if you see something you love or think will cross something off your shopping list. And Appelboom meticulously wraps their packages and includes a stroopwaffel. It’s holiday-in-a-box anytime of the year.


Fontoplumo is offering 20% off for Black Friday weekend with the coupon code BF20 (presented when you log in with the option to choose “No thanks, I’ll pay full price” which made me laugh with delight.). If you are shopping in the EU and want to take advantage of Black Friday without the turkey hangover, Fontoplumo is offering a plum deal (see what I did there?).

Goldspot Pens:

Goldspot has so many Black Friday/Cyber Monday deals they have devoted a whole page on their site to listing all of them.

Here’s some highlights:

    • Order $75 or more, get a FREE Goldspot Polishing Cloth and FREE Shipping (within the USA only).
    • Order $149 or more, get a FREE Goldspot Polishing Cloth, a Parker IM Rollerball Pen, and FREE Shipping (within the USA only).
    • Order $249 or more, get a FREE Goldspot Polishing Cloth, a Parker IM Rollerball Pen, a Sheaffer 100 Fountain Pen, and FREE Shipping (within the USA only).
    • Order $499 or more, get a FREE Goldspot Polishing Cloth, a Parker IM Rollerball Pen, a Sheaffer 100 Fountain Pen, a Lamy Safari Petrol Fountain Pen and FREE Shipping (within the USA only).

Jet Pens:

For the JetPens Black Friday Special, get 25% off this selection of Faber-Castell pens, pencils, and inks.
Special Offer prices valid while supplies last, or until Sunday, December 15th at Midnight Pacific Time.

Karas Pen Co:

Use the coupon code BLACKFRIDAY now though December 2 and save 20% off all Karas Pen Co products.

Pen Chalet:

Pen Chalet has three ways to save. There is a Special Coupon available on Black Friday for use on ALL items. Use BLACK15 to save all day.

There will be special discounts starting Wednesday night. Use code EARLYACCCESS through Nov. 29th for 15%. From Black Friday and Cyber Monday, make sure you register for their email newsletter to receive information about our great Black Friday deals. There will be limited quantities on these great deals and these pens will only be available at these prices while supplies last.

Also Pen Chalet is hosting some giveaways on Black Friday. Random winners will be selected on Black Friday! Also random orders throughout the weekend sales will receive a “Gift Pack” sent with their order. See gift packs here.

Vanness Pen Shop:

Vanness Pen Shop is offering a Buy More Save More Black Friday Weekend sale. Spend $50 or more and save 5%, spend $50.01 – $200 and get 10% off and spend ovr $200 and save 15%. No code required. Good thru 11/29.

Also, get 10% off all 2020 planners and diaries through 12/3. No code required.

Small Business Saturday: (11/30 -12/1) receive 10% off all inks.

Cyber Monday (12/2): Receive a free gift with all purchases over $25. Choose a 3-pack of Nava notebooks or a 30ml bottle of Monteverde ink (color choices limited). FREE INK!!!!

Other Pen/Stationery Shops (listed alphabetically):

Anderson Pens:

Anderson Pens is offering 10% off all in-stock Platinum Pens (excluding Preppy), 10% off Hobonichi Planner/Cover Sets and 5% off Weeks planners, 20% off Montblanc Stationery, 20% off Hugo Boss Journals, 10% off select ink brands like Bungubox, Kobe, Lamy Crystal, and Montblanc. Many other products have been discounted. No coupon code needed.

Art Snacks:

Receive 30% off your first month when you use the code FESTIVE30. Use for gift subscriptions or for yourself! (First-time subscribers only. Month-to-month or Plus subscription plans. See Art Snacks site for details.)

Baron Fig:

Baron Fig is offering 25% off everything on purchases of $50 or more. Enter the code BF19 at checkout to receive the discount. Good through 12/1.

Cult Pens UK:

Not to leave the folks in the UK to feel left out of the holiday melée, Cult Pens is offerings an array of discounts on select brands. Check out their Black Friday page for details of discounts and products.


Dromgoole’s has some Black Friday deals available on a special page featuring 25% off KWZ and Diamine ink (use coupon code BLACKFRIDAY) and 60% off the Monteverde Kilimanjaro ballpoint.


Ensso is offering a 40% discount and free worldwide shipping on all our products from Monday November 25th to Monday December 2nd. Prices reflect 40% discount. No coupon needed. Limited quantities available.

Fresh Stock Japan:

Fresh Stock Japan is launching their biggest sale ever! Inventory is limited on many of our Japanese imports, so act fast to make sure you get your favorites before they sell out! Sale valid through 12/2.
10% OFF ALL ORDERS: Use coupon code 10BF2019
15% OFF ORDERS OVER $50: Use coupon code 15BF2019
20% OFF ORDERS OVER $100: Use coupon code 20BF2019
25% OFF ORDERS OVER $200: Use coupon code 25BF2019

Goulet Pens:

Save 20% off Benu, Jacques Herbin, Opus 88 plaus much more. Check out all the deals on the Goulet Pens special Black Friday page. Prices valid all weekend.

Jenni Bick:

Jenni Bick is having a 20% off sale storewide. Check out the full range of products from her custom leather notebooks to pens and planners. If you’re in DC, check out her shop near Dupont Circle.

Lemur Ink:

Lemur Ink’s Black Friday sale begins Friday at 12:01AM EST and ends Monday at midnight.

Enter code BlackFriday at checkout to automatically take 15% off your entire order.  *Excludes TWSBI products.

Milligram Australia:

Even Australia can’t escape the allure of Black Friday sales mayhem. Milligram is offering 20% off storewide through 12/2 (11:59PM AEDT). Discount will be automatically applied at checkout, its valid online and in-store and offers cannot be combined. Excludes gift vouchers, customisation and gift wrapping.


Nibsmith is offering over 50 pens discounted up to 40% off from brands like Aurora, Lamy, Montegrappa, Pelikan, Taccia, and more!
Use coupon code “BLACKFRIDAY” to save 10% and get free shipping on all other items.


NockCo is introducing product kits for the holiday sale season. These kits include a variety of cases and paper goods, with a price lower than if you bought the items separately.

NockCo Product Kits: The Originals ($35), The Greens $45, The Full Unicorn $68, The Purples ($45) and the Big Storage ($68) Kits.

Pen Boutique:

Pen Boutique is offering up to 70% off select items, free domestic shipping on orders over $50 (and reasonable FdEx rates for international packages) and their “Mystery Bag” option which is a grab purchase that can yield anything from a Pelikan Ruby to a Cross R2D2 pen or even a Montblanc Meisterstuck Ballpoint for one low price. Are you willing to take your chances?

Pen Sachi:

Even the Japanese pen shops are getting in on the Black Friday sales. Pen Sachi is offering up to 30% off select items through Sunday.  If you listened to the Pen Addict Gift Guide episode this week, don’t tell Myke that that King of Pen he was lusting after is on the sale page.


The Pencils.com deal last year made everyone lose their minds. This year, get a free sticker with every order, a free Blackwing 602 for every $10 you spend, and a free shirt when you spend $50+. I believe they ran out of stickers fast which is what caused the fervor so if you are a Blackwing fan, hurry up.

Shigure Inks:

Shigure Inks: Get 15% off using code BLACKFRIDAY15 this week! Visit their site for further details.

Also, get a free special edition 15ml ink with every bottle of Colorverse ink you order – just specify which color(s) you’d like in the order notes! The two colors available are Warped Passages (Glistening) and Anti-Matter (Glistening).

Well-Appointed Desk Shop:

Following the Pen Addict Gift Guide recording on Wednesday, we cooked up a coupon code for the most giftable item: the Col-o-ring Oversize. If you order three or more Oversize, get free shipping! Use the coupon 3FREESHIP. Now through 12/9.

Other Cool Stuff on Sale:

Flow Magazine:

Flow is offering to bring some color to your Black Friday, with a 30% discount on many of the the products in their webshop. Use the code COLOR at the checkout.

The discount is valid until Monday Dec 2, 23:59 Amsterdam time.


Get 3 months for $1 and start your subscription with CreativeBug. CreativeBug is one of the best arts and crafts video-based tutorial website and a chance to try it out or give it as a gift is a great opportunity. Learn sewing, painting, drawing, knitting, crochet, baking and decorating and more with some of the best talent are instructors like Lilla Rogers, Lisa Congdon, Anna Maria Horner, Danielle Krysa, Gretchen “Gertie” Hersch, Sonya Phillip, Wendy Bernard… I could go on! But you get the idea. This is THE BEST craft tutorial site I’ve found and they don’t pay me to say this. I pay them.

Tilly and the Buttons

For all my sewing friends, save up to 40% off patterns on Tilly and the Buttons. More details available here.



Link Love: Gift Guides & Koala Rescues

Link Love: Gift Guides & Koala Rescues

In honor of the impending holidays, Link is donning his pilgrim hat this week.

I included a link in “Other Interesting Things” about the koalas in the bush fires in Australia. This was brought to the media attention thanks to the heroics of one woman who rescued a koala from the blazes by wrapping him up in her shirt. My husband was an exchange student in Australia as a teenager so he has a personal connection to the country and as a child I had stuffed koala bears when other kids had teddy bears. Knowing that the bush fires, on top of overcrowding has greatly diminished their population.

There’s a handful of gift guides from Milligram over in Australia (some are great idea starters for some non-pen related gifts), some Number 9 Pencil reviews and don’t forget to pop over to Relay.FM and listen to this week’s Pen Addict for the annual Gift Guide episode. It’s the seventh year the guys have agreed to let me join in on the festivities and we talked for a long time!




Paper & Notebooks:

Art & Creativity:

Other Interesting Things:

Pen Review: Esterbook Lilac Slim Estie

Pen Review: Esterbook Lilac Slim Estie

I couldn’t resist styling the new Esterbrook Estie Lilac Slim (MSRP $185US) with my most matchy-matchy handbag. Can you blame me?

Seriously though, I was very excited to hear about the new Estie Lilac and to find out that they had introduced a smaller, slimmer version was an added bonus.

But first, let’s cover all the standard details:

Esterbrook box

The Estie ships in the same red textile box that all the other pens have shipped in.

Estie Lilac in box

Nestled inside the cushioned ivory interior is the lovely pen. The Estie Slim comes with both a converter and cartridge.

The downside of the Slim model is that it will not work with the MV-Adaptor that allows for the use of the vintage Esterbrook nibs that can be used with the standard sized Estie pens.

Estie Lilac

The Lilac is a brilliant violet with a crushed resin look. I think the silver hardware looks great with the purple color. I think the color choices keep getting better with the Estie. The new Esterbrook Estie started with some very classic colors but they have been slowly exploring more adventurous colors with each release.

Estie Lilac uncapped

The Schmidt #5 nib is very similar in size to the original vintage Esterbrook nibs so I was really hoping that they had developed a new converter that would work with the Slim model. Oh well. It’s still a gorgeous pen.

Estie Lilac nib

The Estie Lilac Slim features a #5 Schmidt nib rather than the #6 Jowo nib that is on the standard sizes Estie.

Estie Slim title

I liked the medium nib on my Estie Honeycomb so much I got a medium on the Lilac Slim as well. Of course, since the Honeycomb is a Jowo and the  Lilac Slim is a Schmidt nib, it’s not really fair to compare.

Estie Slim writing sample

The Schmidt nib has a little bit of bounce and writes pretty well out of the box. While not a flexible nib, the Schmidt nib is a pleasing writing experience. I know there are some that firmly prefer Jowo over Schmidt but I have not had issues with one over the other.

Estie Slim vs Standard

When compared with the original Blueberry Estie in standard size, it’s easy to see both the color and size difference. The Lilac Slim weighs in at a scant 21gms capped and filled compared to the full sized Estie at 26gms. Uncapped, the Slim is just 12gms compared to 17gms for the full-sized Estie.

pen weight comparison chart

Capped, the Slim is about 5.5″ to the full-size Estie’s 6″. And uncapped, its just 4.8″ to the full-sized Estie’s 5.25″ length. There’s a difference in overal width too which can be a comfort issue too. I prefer a slightly more slender pen because my hands are so small.  (I was just complaining yesterday that my most recent travel coffee mug was too big for me to hold with one hand comfortably without fear of dropping it. I have to carry it with two hands like a toddler. So embarrassing!)

Estie Lilac Slim comparison

I wanted to compare the Estie Slim to other pens as well like the TWSBI Eco, a Lamy AL-Star and a Kaweco Sport for size. Above are the pens all capped. Below are the same pens posted, except for the Lilac Slim which doesn’t post.

Estie Lilac Slim comparison

Unposted, the Lilac Slim is shorter than a Kaweco Sport when its posted.

Overall, I think the Estie Slim will be a great addition in the new Esterbrook pen line-up. It’s beautiful and introduces a wider size range to the brand. It’s unfortunate that it does not continue to support the vintage nibs but I’m not sure how important that is to the pen community as a whole. For many, continuing the Esterbrook brand in a respectful way is more important than continuing to tie it to the older nib technology.

Esterbrook bookmark and clips

Included with my shipment were these lovely shaped paper clips and bookmarks which is a lovely addition. The bottom clip is the original Esterbrook factory building, in case you’re curious. I’m not sure if these will be available for purchase or if they are a special promotion. Ask your favorite retailer!


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

Notebook Cover Review: Coal Creek Bainbridge A6 Leather Cover

Review by Laura Cameron

When Ana returned from the DC Supershow she brought back tons of goodies for review. I was lucky enough to snag the Coal Creek Bainbridge A6 Leather Cover ($49-$55). Coal Creek offers a number of A6 size leather covers designed to accommodate your favorite notebook, be it Hobonichi, Moleskine, Rhodia, Leuchtturm and more! Mine is designed for Leuchtturm.

The Bainbridge A6 leather covers are sourced from top tier domestic (U.S.) tanneries and are advertised as “American Full Grain leather that ages to a beautiful patina.” I can’t speak to the patina, but the leather is lovely. Covers are available in a variety of colors (mine is Cherry) and are finished with stitching which is also available in a variety of colors (mine is Sand).

The covers are designed to house an A6 or pocket size notebook. When you open the cover, on the left there are two pockets. Once is designed to hold a few spare business cards, and the inside pocket can hold receipts, notes, or in some cases, a phone! An elastic pen loop is optional.

On the right, there is a pocket designed for the back cover of your notebook. I tried the case with a variety of notebooks from the Leuchtturm 1917 Pocket (3.5″ x 6″), Octaveo notebooks (3.5″ x 5.25″), to the Crane & Co. Starfish Small Notebook (4″ x 6″), to the North of Rosemont notebooks (4″ x 5.75″) that I just reviewed. While all notebooks fit nicely into the cover, only the Leuchtturm and the Octaveo worked well when a pen was inserted into the loop. Otherwise the cover closed awkwardly as the pen and notebook battled for space.


Overall, the Bainbridge is a lovely slim cover that fits into my purse easily. I’ve been experimenting with carrying it around with me. I love that it’s lightweight enough not to add a ton of weight to my bag (unlike my beloved Chic & Sparrow covers), but that it also protects my smaller notebooks. I’m looking forward to adding my own patina to it.

DISCLAIMER: Some of the items included in this review were provided to us free of charge for the purpose of review. Please see the About page for more details.