Kyokuto Guildford Notebook

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Whenever I find myself in need of notebooks, it’s usually mainly for note-taking and assignments. I found my best notebook ages ago when I first got a 5 pack of Maruman Mnemosyne B5 notebooks from JetPens. Writing with those notebooks was a cathartic experience and no other notebook has ever given me the same feeling whenever I write. To me, the Maruman Mnemosyne line has become the bar I set whenever I write paper reviews. With that in mind, I felt that the blog was really lacking some paper reviews and decided that I needed to try out some new products. So as I was shopping for my spring quarter in early 2016, I stumbled upon the Kyokuto Guildford on JetPens. HAving never heard of this notebook before, I was curious and decided to do some research on it. As it turns out, there weren’t too many reviews from the mainstream stationary blogs I follow, so I decided to get it and put out a review myself.

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The notebook has a very simple design, yet within that simplicity is the sophistication as seen through the ornately embellished patterns that decorate the index page. The color scheme of the notebook is tasteful and bright.

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In regards to the paper, I have to say for such thin paper, I wasn’t expecting it to be so resilient against some pretty wet inks. I used many different inks in this notebook before I wrote this review and the paper withstood all of them, all while providing a smooth writing experience. This particular review was written with a Lamy 2000 M nib inked with Iroshizuku Shin-Kai. The paper simply soaks it up, resulting in quick dry times. This holds true for even inks with longer dry times like Sailor Kiwa-Guro Nano Black. With all the inks, I also noticed that none of them feathered regardless of the nib size of the pen. All of these make the Guildford a solid choice for someone who requires a decent notebook for simple note taking and the like. However, there were some drawbacks that came with these positive aspects. Due to being thin, the paper has a tendency to be affected by the indentations on the opposite side. Ever since picking up pointed pen calligraphy, my writing pressure has gone down significantly, yet it still cause indents on this paper. Along with the indents, come the ghosting and with some inks like J. Herbin emerald of Chivor, it really posed a problem. One reason I simply could not use the Guildford for school more often was the lack of pages and perforation. I usually end up writing about 4-6 pages of notes every day I’m in class. I take a lot of technical courses that require notes to be numerous and comprehensive for future studying. With only 38 sheets, the Guildford would not be able to accommodate the amount of notes I take. Even when I use front and back, with 32 lines of 6mm per page, the notebook would still last less than a month of classes. Also, the lack of perforation means I can never do assignments on this paper and turn it in, as it would both look like and leave a mess.

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The binding is sturdy and does a great job of securing the pages within the notebook. This would be the one thing that I would admit that the Mnemosyne line can improve on. When turned all the way, the cover of the Mnemosyne tends to come loose of the binding and it’s a bit of a pain to realign it again every time. This binding has never failed me even once and is very resistant to bending, unlike the plastic ones present on the Mnemosyne notebooks.

With a tasteful color scheme and classy motifs, the Kyokuto Guildford is a functional and stylish notebook that can take on just about anything you throw at it. The thin paper saves on space and allows the notebook to have a compact form, while the durable covers protect them from wear and tear. The binding is strong and resistant to bending ensuring that you notebook will keep its shape and the pages inside will be protected. While it might not be ideal for doing assignments in with its lack of perforation, it still holds its own against other notebooks out there. I recommend everyone give this notebook a try.

Nock Co. Sinclair

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From its inception in September 2013, Nock Co. has become a household name in the pen case industry. Though there are numerous offerings from well-established pen accessory companies, Nock Co.’s unique and well-designed cases always manage to make them stand out in the crowd. They have since expanded into paper products and have increased the various colors they offer their cases in.

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The list of materials that all the Nock Co. cases are made of simply ooze quality. All cases are made from 1000D Nylon with DWR (Durable Water Repellant) Coating. The coating makes the fabric hydrophobic, simply put, it makes water roll right off. A welcome addition as my clumsiness has led to water being spilled on my case many times. The inside material is Nylon Pack Cloth, which protects the surface of your pens and is durable enough to withstand constant friction from taking out and inserting pens into the slots. There are 3 pen slots provided, allowing for storage of up to 3 fountain pens, six non-fountain pens or a mix of the two. As shown in the last picture, I opt for 2 fountain pens, usually one with black ink and blue ink, a standard ballpoint and a pencil for scantron tests and the like. There is also a dedicated slot for a pocket notebook, which I often use to store my Field Notes notebooks, though this can be used with any pocket notebook of that size. I recommend keeping only one in there as it gets rather difficult to store and take out if there’s more than one. The zippers are YKK, which means that they will last a very long time. Overall, a huge win for those who desire a case made from quality materials.

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The Sinclair is one of the later additions to the line, as it was developed well after the original Kickstarter campaign. From the moment it was announced, I knew I had to have one. The zippered design and compact form attracted me away from my Hightower which I often had retention problems with the pocket notebook. It managed to slip out numerous times and I had to make a conscious effort to put it in my bag right side up. Now that I have a Sinclair, I can throw it in however and not have to worry about a thing.

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A real winner from Nock Co. Ever since I backed the initial Kickstarter, Nock Co. has grown into a well-known brand that is designing some awesome cases and paper products (I have their note cards!). The Sinclair is hands down my current favorite offering from the guys at Nock. However, with the blistering pace they’re setting and the innovative designs their showcasing, this might change in the near future. I highly recommend this case to anyone who likes colorful, well-designed and amazing pen cases. If you’re reading this, keep up the great work guys!

Sailor Souten Review

So sorry for not being active for the last month almost. After Spring Break, the amount of work I had to finish went up drastically and there’s still lots more to come. I just finished my exam week and only have a month to prepare for finals. This weekend is a small respite, as I finally had time to sit down and finish a couple of reviews. This will be number 1 of 3, to make up for the end of February. The second and third will come tomorrow, officially finishing the quota for March. I don’t know if I’ll be able to put any out until after the semester’s over in May, but I’ll try my best to keep you guys updated. Please follow me on social media for quick updates. You can follow me through the buttons on the right for Twitter and Facebook, and my Instagram feed gallery is linked to my profile.

DSCF9034As you all may know after all this time. I love me some blue inks. Any shade, any brand. You name it, I’m willing to give it a try. I’ve had this ink for almost 2 years now. The ink is almost finished, so I knew I needed to get a review in before it ran out.

DSCF9037By the time I got onto the Sailor bandwagon, I found that some of the inks I really wanted to try had officially been discontinued. I could no longer find Grenade, Epinard and Sky Blue. I was immensely disappointed at not getting the chance to review them, but perked up when Sailor announced that they would be revealing a new Four Seasons ink line that would be the future of Sailor inks. Excited, I waited with bated breath for the Los Angeles International Pen Show to get my hands on some. When I reached, I went straight over to the Anderson Pens booth and got this bottle of Sailor Souten (Azure Sky), the touted successor of the Sky High. I have to say, I was not disappointed at all with my purchase.

DSCF9043The performance of Souten is about as expected of any Sailor ink. It behaves well in every pen I ink it up in and shades differently based on the nib size and any special characteristics. While I wrote the review with my Lamy Safari M, I usually used it with my TWSBI 580 Pendleton BLS grind fountain pen. The unique grind on the nib allowed for the shading to really show through.

DSCF9039The ink also has a beautiful red sheen when used in a broad or wide italic nib. The red is concentrated around where the ink typically pools inside the letters. However, if you’re using this ink with a fine or extra fine nib, don’t expect any real shading or sheen to show when writing.

DSCF9046Now for the Sailor performance, you’re going to be paying a rather premium price. This ink typically retails for around $18 at Anderson Pens and other similar retailers, I’ve seen it go for $14.25 on JetPens, which is by far the cheapest I could find it going for. If the price doesn’t bother you, then this is a solid, well-behaved blue that will perform well in any pen you use it in. I recommend this to anyone who likes Sailor inks and wants a nice blue to add to their collection.

 

Pixelexia Blog

Hey Everyone,

I hope you enjoyed yesterday’s triple release. It was a long time coming and I really wanted to reward your amazing patience and understanding. I wanted to quickly let you guys know that I have started a second blog. This one will be focused on photography and I will be using it to showcase my photography as well as any experimental shots. There will not be any stationary/pen photography on it as this is my designated spot for all that. However, if you’re interested in my both my life and photography, then please check it out as I will be really trying different styles and going out of my comfort zone. I hope to capture some amazing shots and show them to you all. Don’t worry, this blog will not affect my review posting schedule at all and will only be updated occasionally as I don’t plan to institute a set schedule. The photos I post will only be ones I feel best reflect my personal style. Come on over, drop a like or comment to let me know if you liked it. Here’s the link.

Sincerely,

Anchit, The Passionate Penman

Field Notes Black Ice Edition

Review 3/3

After running through my Sweet Tooth and Unexposed Editions, I was searching for another Field Notes edition, except this one was for a specific purpose. Recently, I’ve really delved into the world of photography and wanted a pocket notebook for quick descriptions of some of my favorite shots on campus. On some select weekends, when I had the luxury of free time and weather permitting conditions, I’ve ventured outside to take some pictures around my campus.

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Spanning nearly 1,933 acres, the campus of Indiana University at Bloomington is expansive and full of places to get some amazing shots. So far, I’ve stuck to the various buildings I usually walk by on the weekdays and seek to view them from a different perspective. On many occasions, I was walking to class or back home and I suddenly stopped after seeing a scene that would make a well composed photo. So to keep it in my head, I whip out my trusty Field Notes notebook and quickly jot down my location and what exactly I was looking at. If I didn’t have this, I would’ve actually forgotten some really nice locations by the my weekend morning photo walk.

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The cover of this edition looks stunning and glints in the sunlight. The embossing of the Field Notes Logo on the front page looks like it has been machined onto sheet metal rather than just shiny paper stock. I found on one of my photo walks that the cover could also be used as a light reflector that helped illuminate some of my darker macro shots.

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The paper they used for this edition is the Finch Fine Smooth 70# paper with gray line rulings and orange on top (Field Notes website). The thing that really excited me into getting this specific edition is the fact that this is Field Note’s very first non-staple-bound notebook. These notebooks are actually PUR-bound and Field Notes made an awesome video showcasing the process. The paper withstood almost everything I threw at it other than the Iroshizuku Shin-Kai that spread out a bit on the paper. Maybe if I had a finer nib, then it would be alright, but as far as the Lamy 2000 medium nib, it is a bit too juicy for the Field Notes to handle. I don’t need to harp on about how good Field Notes notebooks are as well as the convenience they afford. They have already established themselves and their brand in the market and my only input would be to get this edition to not only get a cool notebook, but also see Field Notes innovation first hand with the binding.

Thanks for reading and being so patient with my slightly erratic posting schedule. I expect my workload to drop down back to normal once my first exam week passes. Then I’ll be able to get back to a regular once every 2 weeks review schedule. I’ll see you all near the end of February. Until then, write on, my friends.

Huy Hoang Dao Oblique Holder 2

Review 2/3

 

 

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I remember a while back when I published the first oblique holder review on my blog and featured a Huy Hoang Dao holder that I had bought nearly a year back. Since then, I had a bit of an accident. While trying to adjust my flange, the glue gave in and the flange popped right out of the holder. Worried about the integrity of the wood, I promptly emailed Hoang about it and inquired what I could possibly do to revive it. As my first holder, it holds a lot of sentimental value that I just couldn’t get myself to let go of. Hoang got back to me and recommended me to get it fixed by Chris Yoke, given that I was based in Indiana now.

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In a completely surprising twist of events, he told me that since I had last ordered, his pen making skills had gone through considerable improvement and that I deserve a better pen, so he would send me one for free. He really didn’t need to and it wasn’t necessary, but Hoang took matters into his own hands and decided to send me a new one for free(!). It was amazing to see how sincere he is towards his customers and his passion towards his craft. I was absolutely inspired by him to really pursue my practice with more gusto than I thought I was capable of. So for the last couple months practicing exclusively with the one he sent.

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The very first thing I noticed were the beautiful contours of the holder. While the shape was very similar to my previous one, the thin profile really made it seem much more delicate and refined. If put right next to each other, one can see a quantum leap in the lines of the wood and how thorough Hoang was with the respective processes that made this pen look and feel absolutely stunning in my hand. All around another stunning holder by Hoang and something that I will be using for a long time. Hoang is putting some amazing holders up for sale and I would advise anyone in the market for a tastefully designed, well-made oblique holder at a price that won’t make your wallet cry, check out his online store.

Disclaimer: I have not been compensated in any way for my review and have written my impartial observations and thoughts for your reading pleasure.

Sailor Kiwa-Guro Nano Black

I’m so sorry with the late posts guys. With my first exams coming up for multiple classes, the veritable deluge of work I was assigned had me burning the midnight oil for many days on end. It was very difficult for me to dedicate time to write reviews and I could only write them in pieces with the limited amount of free time I had. So for today, I decided to finish all 3 reviews that I owed. 2 for January and 1 so far. Here’s review 1/3, enjoy. The next review is on its way.

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This is an ink that I’ve been using for nearly 2 years now. I initially picked it up at the 2015 LA Pen Show and barely used it. Due to it being one of the more expensive fountain pen inks I occasionally treated myself to, I didn’t want to use it up too quickly. My reticence to its use contributed to the unjust wait it had to go through at the bottom of my ink drawer. Before I transferred, I decided that I would take an entire day to just clear out my desk and drawers to sift through everything and decide whether it had to be taken with me. I found the bottle covered in dust and took it out, wondering what ink this was. The moment I saw the glint of gold lettering, I knew it had to be something good. Needless to say, I wasn’t wrong. A full bottle of Sailor Kiwa Guro Black just waiting for me to use it. I immediately packed it in my suitcase with my other inks and left.

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Fast forward 4 months and it has become a mainstay of my ink collection. Blacker than the black and extremely well-behaved, I ended up using it in almost all of my pens that I brought to Indiana. Whether it be my Pilot Custom 823 to my new Lamy 2000, it performed virtually the same without any hiccups. In fact, I wrote a good 80% of all my notes for my classes with this ink. It’s just that good.

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I figured out shortly that shading isn’t exactly its strong suit, but the amazing smoothness accompanied by the quick dry time helped settle this as my current go-to black ink. If I honestly had to recommend someone a quality black ink at this point in time, I would unhesitatingly tell them to go with Sailor Kiwa Guro. Although the price is a bit more on the premium side, even more expensive than the Iroshizuku line, it provides the most consistent and utilitarian purpose as a simple black ink. Throw in a decent bit of water resistance and the price seems just about right. I encourage anyone to acquire a sample of this through your favorite retailer and give it a go in a daily use pen, I can assure you that you will be adding a bottle of it to your shopping cart sooner or later. Thank you all for reading this review. Another one is coming right up.

New Year’s Resolutions. How Well Did I Follow Through?

First of week of the semester finally over! I feel that I started strong and am going to try to maintain that level of focus. I wanted to put this post out before school started, but the preparation I was doing for some of my more intense classes this semester was more of a priority so… that didn’t happen.So here it is.

Scientists say that the reason people don’t follow through on their New Year’s resolutions is simple. Most people pick big actions like “Eat healthier” or “Exercise more”. According to Susan Weinschenk Ph.D., the reason most people fail is because we have to start changing habits with small actions. Instead of “Exercise more”, we should instead say “Walk a 1/3 more than usual”. Not only do they have to be small, but they should also attach onto an existing action for easier acclimatization and be easy to follow through for the first week minimum. I’ll be going into 2017 with these in mind. Here’s the article for anyone interested. I highly recommend giving it a read and incorporating the lessons into your resolutions for this year.

I made a couple of resolutions at the beginning of 2016 with the goal of looking back and seeing that I accomplished them. While I’m pretty confident I didn’t exactly manage to do all of them, I honestly feel that I definitely did make somewhat of an improvement. I’ll link the whole post down below, but I’ll be going through only the main list. So let’s get started.

Start becoming more active on social media

My social media posting for the year of 2016 was much better than 2015. I was able to finally get a bit more involved on Instagram and am slowly building a larger follower base. Still a long way to go, but for someone as uninterested in social media as I am, it was a huge leap. This year I will be looking to improve even more and start showcasing more of my calligraphy practice as I notice that those were some of the things people were responding to. It’ll definitely be tough, but I’ll use the excuse of posting it on social media to focus on keeping a clear schedule of practice and for a more useful practice instead of mindlessly doing drills and not focusing on the foundations. This year I will be using online resources more often to practice smart and will eventually be writing in calligraphy on Instagram for any holidays and the like. Look forward to it! 🙂

One review a week without fail, no excuses

In the 52 weeks of the year of 2016, I posted 32 reviews. Honestly, this one was a little bit of a stretch for me to accomplish and I’m surprised I got as far as I did given how tough the quarters leading up to my transfer were. There were many times I found myself simply releasing 2 or even 3 on a given weekend simply to catch up. In short, it was an ambitious goal that I couldn’t follow through on because I underestimated the effort and motivation I had to constantly put out reviews every single week. For this year, since my schedule and academic rigor has increased substantially, I simply can’t make one review a week happen. However, I feel that one every two weeks should be very possible given how many I put out last year. By decreasing my schedule, you guys have more to look forward to also. I’ll be posting only on weekends as that’s when I’ll have the most free time. I feel that I can definitely make this happen, so I’m gonna go for it.

Improve my photography which I feature in my reviews.

Now this one was something that I’m not really sure how well I accomplished. For me personally, when I compare my January photos to my December photos, I see a stark difference in quality. The December shots are better composed make better use of negative space and are more in focus because I invested in a decent tabletop tripod to avoid shaking and blurriness present in some of my January shots. That being said, I feel that the creativity behind the shots were lacking. Lot of them are the standard in focus nib and body and a couple of round angle shots that are pretty standard. I didn’t exactly do a good job in varying my backgrounds and it became a little stale even for me. When I moved to IU, I no longer had my standard black desk but instead a wooden grain one that really looked nice in some of the latest reviews. I want to try to capture some pen in nature shots this year. Something like that should be easy due to having so many seasonal backgrounds here in Indiana. I’ve been a little uneasy about going outside due to how cold it is, but I feel that a morning photo walk is something that will help me not only improve my composition further, but challenge me to try out different methods and utilize different perspectives.

Work on getting some kind of sponsorship

Well this is a little embarrassing. O.O Now this was a resolution that honestly fell by the wayside after January. For some reason, it completely slipped my mind after the year started up and it wasn’t until I wanted to write this post that I saw this and remembered. It hit me how much trouble could be saved when wondering about what new pens I could get that I haven’t reviewed. This is something that I would definitely like to work on as it would not only guarantee my readers fresh reviews on new pens, it would also allow me to stop stressing on how I’m going to put out new content every week. I will be contacting some of my favorite pen bloggers for advice on how I can make this happen and encourage anyone with experience in this field to get in contact with me via the Contact Form and I’d love to chat..

That was all of my resolutions for 2016 and a few minor adjustments notwithstanding, they will stay the same for this year. Resolutions cannot be thrown away if you don’t accomplish them. The biggest problem I faced last year was overreaching. I set goals that didn’t take into account how my life was going to change near the end of the year. I set goals that were a bit too ambitious given the limited amount of time I had to make them happen. Lastly, I set goals blindly, without thinking about how I was going to follow through. Ultimately, while I didn’t complete any of them, at least there was improvement. Until the day comes that I’m completely sure that I followed through these are going to be my blog resolutions for every year. Consistency is key and perseverance is mandatory for success. I also have some personal goals that I’ve set for myself and I’ll be working on those too alongside these. I’m getting a feeling that this year is going to be a good one. Keep on going, my friends. Never stop trying to better yourself and never settle for anything less than what you want. Let’s work hard together and make 2017 a year to remember.

I really want to know what you guys are thinking so please leave a comment telling me how I’m doing. Comments are getting more frequent, but it’s just not enough to gauge how well my reviews are being received, so let me know what you think hitting that like button and leaving a comment. Thank you all so much for your support. I’ll see you in 2 weeks with 2 reviews to make up for missing these first couple weeks. So until then, write on, my friends. 🙂

Link to 2016 New Year’s Resolutions blog post

Happy New Year! A Look at 2016.

I can’t believe that it’s already here. The day where everyone looks back on the year and how they navigated through the many curve-balls life threw at them. For me, this was certainly one of the most fulfilling years I’ve had in a while. A couple of years back, after being bogged down and overrun by the math-heavy curriculum for Computer Science, I was lost. It was the worst feeling for me, to know that I had a genuine interest in a field, but I couldn’t pursue it simply because calculus wasn’t my thing.

It was at this point that a simple mistake allowed me to meet someone who would change my life. I had gone back to being a business major and needed to take financial accounting as a prerequisite for transfer. My business club advisor, a Mr. Kevin Mello, was an accounting teacher at the time, so I planned to take him. It wasn’t until the day I walked into the classroom that I realized I had signed up for the wrong Mello’s class. Apparently, Kevin’s twin brother Keith was also an accounting teacher and the online registration portal hadn’t shown the difference. Determined to just get through the course however possible, I sat down and prepared myself for another mundane and uninteresting course. The moment he started teaching, something in me clicked. He handed us some exercise sheets and I was breezing through them with 100% accuracy. A feeling of euphoria that I used to feel only when I was in a computer class invaded me. I had finally found it. Something I was good at and a field I could pursue for a career.

I found myself attending his office hours daily, peppering him with questions about what accountants do, different sub-fields within accounting and about his personal experience in the industry. He patiently answered every single one and shared his thoughts on what he used to do and how the field is changing in numerous ways. He sat with me daily for almost a month straight and helped me find a path that I was interested in pursuing and encouraged me to follow my heart, wherever it took me. He helped encourage me when I was mired by self-doubt and ultimately inspired me to work hard to get into a good business program at a 4-year university. In the immortal words of William Arthur Ward, “The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.” He turned out to be the most inspirational and kindest professor I had ever had the fortune to meet. I fondly reminisce on that incident now as one of the best and luckiest mistakes I ever made.

I worked hard and got into Indiana University at Bloomington, home to the prestigious Kelley School of Business. Through all my effort, I was able to transfer to a college with a beautiful campus, amazing people and dedicated teachers. I was able to meet my roommate Nick, who has since become one of my best friends. 2016 was an amazing year for me and I sincerely hope that I can carry this momentum into 2017. I have some personal goals I’ve set that are ambitious but achievable. I feel that aiming for these goals will change my life for the better and I fully intend on following through.

I want to wish all my readers a very Happy New Year! 🙂 May the new year bring tidings of health, happiness and prosperity to you all. Thank you so much for all your support and I will see you all in 2017. (I’m in California, and it’s technically not 2017 yet)

Word Notebooks

Post 3/3. All caught up, see you tomorrow! 🙂

Word Notebooks are something that I have wanted to try for the longest time and I finally got a chance to after a friend gave me a pack. I’ve seen numerous versions of these over at Cool Material, a website I visit occasionally to find out about cool gadgets and the latest trends. They always have these in stock for some reason and the one thing that drew me to them was the cover. While Field Notes does a really god job with unique covers for their notebooks, Word just has very aesthetically pleasing covers that immediately draw the eye. I really liked this one in particular due to my obsession with the color blue and the numerous shades therein. The chromatic effect that is the highlight of this cover just really worked for me. I actually didn’t want to use them simply to maintain the neatness of the cover, but I had to review them, so they invariably got bent and crushed mercilessly by the contents of my bag. T_T

Word Notebooks, unlike Field Notes has a very specific system in place for the functionality. It’s a lot like the Bullet Journal system, except in a simpler form. At the front of the notebook, after the property identification and archival system, there’s a dedicated user guide. I honestly had used a bullet journal before, so it was easy to handle the transition.

The paper was much better than I expected and held up against most of my EDC pens to a good extent. The writing instruments I tested are in the picture above and it took just about everything I threw at it. The Platinum Preppy M loaded with Platinum Blue-Black showed signs of feathering and it ghosted through much more than any of the other pens tested. However, it did not bled through at all, but that could change depending on the nib size. I think that Japanese Extra Fine/Fine nibs should be alright, but the ink can also play a huge role in the performance, so some testing with your regular use inks is required.

Word Notebooks really puts out some decent notebooks with quality paper than can handle numerous styles of pens all packaged with aesthetically pleasing covers. The biggest drawback to these notebooks is the inherent system. While effective, it does the one thing that Field Notes doesn’t, and that’s limiting your customer’s choices. With a standard Field Notes notebook, I can turn it into anything I want, be it a to-do list, a photography journal, etc. I’m not limited to what the company dictates I use it for (a to-do list, in the case of Word Notebooks). It’s been a while since I’ve last checked out their stuff, but I hope they’ve stopped shipping their notebooks out with the system, otherwise the use they provide to the buyers would be limited in nature. So if you’re looking for a Field Notes alternative that is functional mainly as a to-do list, then the Word Notebook is the right choice for you.