NOTEBOOK REVIEW: Rhodia Webnotebook Silver Edition

I was so excited when Goulet Pens approached me about reviewing the very luxe Rhodia Webnotebook in Silver. It’s a beautiful book and it’s not one I’d tried.

Without a doubt, this is a high-quality item – it is well-made and feels luxurious. The notebook features all of the bells and whistles – hard cover, ribbon bookmark, elastic band, and a handy pocket in the back for small papers, stickers, or receipts.

The ivory-colored paper is 90 gsm Clairefontaine and has as super-smooth feel to it.

I grabbed the nearest pen – a Lamy Al-Star filled with J Herbin Emerald of Chivor – and started writing. What a pleasure!

There was no bleeding, but a little show-through. This pen is wet and the nib is broad.

Even with some pretty heavy scribbling, there was only a teeny tiny amount of ink seeping through to the other side. You can see (in the bottom box) that the paper is starting to ripple a bit from the wetness – even then, there is hardly any ink coming through.

It’s the cover that makes this notebook truly special. Silvery “leatherette” with a lightly brushed finish takes this book to the next level. It feels expensive, it looks expensive. This is the kind of notebook that could easily be used in a professional setting and also be carried around for personal journaling or note taking. It commands attention, but not in the same way that sequins would, if you know what I mean.

Having said all of that, I wondered if it would be durable. I scratched it. On purpose. First, gently on the back. And then, not so gently. And then right across the front. Take that, Rhodia!

Held at the right angle, in the right light, the scratches I made are visible. But mostly not. I’m impressed.

This beauty containing 96 sheets of A5 paper is $25 at Goulet Pens.

If you can’t see spending $25 on a notebook for yourself, it would make a lovely gift for both men and women. (Of course, you’re totally worth the $25 – let’s not even go there.)

Thank you Goulet Pens for the opportunity to try this fantastic notebook!

NOTEBOOK REVIEW: Filofax A5 Notebook

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I bought this leatherette-covered notebook from Goulet Pens. The price was $18.95 and I paid with my very own pennies. Yes, this is a lot for a notebook, though it is refillable and that helps.

Let’s dive right in to the Filofax A5 Notebook:

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Measuring in at just around 6.33″ x 8.4″, this notebook is a handy size that will fit comfortably into larger sized handbags and totes. Mine is a bright and cheery red with a faux leather textured cover. The cover is over a thin and somewhat flexible bookboard. There is no off-putting scent to the cover – that is, it doesn’t smell like cheap vinyl.

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The elastic band is red with white trim on one side and vice versa on the reverse. The band itself is super high-quality – I don’t remember seeing such a nice band on any other notebook or planner.  The front and back covers are notched – this assures that pressure from the band doesn’t damage the cover.

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I immediately noticed the use of cardboard stiffeners in the front and back of the book and was concerned that this meant the cover and paper would be low-quality. Not the case at all.  With the stiffeners removed, the book is somewhat bendy – and that’s a very good thing because the entire thing can be wrapped around itself – cover to cover. Love this feature.

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Processed with RookieThe Filofax has a semi-concealed wire-o (twin wire) binding. The only way this could be improved upon would be if the wire was colored to match the notebook cover.

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The notebook comes pre-filled with 56 pages of ivory paper and a small stack of paper that can be used to refill the book. Refilling works much like disc-bound notebooks, but I like the way this looks so much more. (The paper looks closer to white in my pictures – that is a result of my skills as a non-photographer – it is definitely ivory.)

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This Filofax A5 Notebook also has a nifty (and very flexible) ruler/bookmark and four repositionable tabs. The blue tab has a pocket – he pocket could have been cut deeper to make it easier to move papers around (and prevent tearing).  The other tabs are red, yellow, and purple.

Processed with RookieEven before writing in it, I was super-duper impressed with the quality and features of this notebook. So much to love.

Hopeful, I grabbed a bunch of nearby pens and even one of Mr. Pentulant’s pencils . . .

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Performance is good. Not perfect, but good. The paper is more absorbent than favorites like Clairefontaine and Rhodia. (Interesting side note:  the label on the notebook says that the paper is 100 gms <not gsm>. I’m not sure if that’s a typo or if they are using some other non-standard measurement for the paper.)

Here’s a close-up of the writing. . .

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Turn the page and . . .

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Yikes…there’s quite a bit of show through (ghosting) with the fountain pens that would most likely be a deal-breaker for those who write on both sides of the paper. (The fountain pens I used were medium and broad nibs.) There were no issues with the gel pens or pencils, and there was no bleeding through to the next page with any of the pens.

I later tested the paper with a fine nib (Lamy Safari) and while there was still some show through, I think most people could tolerate it. Probably. Maybe. I don’t know.

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Here’s my bottom line:  I love this notebook. It has so many features that I want in all of my notebooks (the flexible cover, the pretty band, the tabs) that I’m going to try like crazy to get past the issue with the paper. I generally only write on one side of the paper, so I’m feeling hopeful!

You tell me – could you love this notebook? Is the paper issue a deal breaker? Do you know how this paper performance compares with other Filofax items?

REVIEW: 2015 Hobonichi Planner


At the end of last year, Mr. Pentulant came home from a business trip with a number of prezzies for me from the Kinokuniya store in Seattle. One of those gifts was this 2015  Hobonichi Planner.

I asked on Instagram and was told that this edition is the Weeks Planner. Apparently, it’s not available on the Hobonichi English website – just the full Japanese version.


I was immediately taken with the look and feel of the book. Like other Hobonich Planners, this one is filled with Tomoe River Paper. The cover is somewhat flexible (but not bendy) and the look is slim. There are two ribbon bookmarks. An elastic band would have been helpful.

This planner is too small for me to use as a daily planner, but it’s perfect perfect as a financial planning calendar.


The first set of pages are monthly grids. Keep track of payday, scribble daily spending amounts. Goals and accomplishments could easily go at the bottom of the pages.


The “meat” of the book consists of dates on the left-facing page and a lightly printed grid on the right. So far, I’m using the left side to keep track of future expenses and I’m using the right side for motivational words to stay on track with spending. The right side could also be used for food planning, lists, weekly goals, etc.

IMG_1343 Near the end of the book are a bunch of grid pages. I’ve not started using these pages yet, but could imagine using them for monthly summaries, keeping track of other goals, and of course – lists (always lists).

Bottom Line:  While we’re not that far into 2015, I like the way this is planner is shaping up!

Which planner(s) did you end up with? And, tell me, how many planners are you actively using?

Oh oh oh . . . don’t forget to enter my Stateside Notebook Giveaway! It’s a nice little notebook filled with Tomoe River Paper.

GIVEAWAY: Stateside Notebook (Tomoe River Paper)


First Giveaway of the New Year!

Last fall, I supported a Kickstarter project from Stateside Co., and received the notebooks over the year-end holidays.

The notebook measures 5.5″ x 8.5″, and is filled with the highly-regarded Tomoe River Paper.




I’m using the Raffelcopter app below for entries and the contest is open to everyone all over the world. You have until Sunday to enter and a lucky winner will be chosen next Monday. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway




ALMOST WORDLESS WEDNESDAY: Tomoko Maruyama Notebook Review

I found this adorable notebook on a recent trip to Maido in San Francisco’s Japantown (love it there!).

You’ll need to forgive the quality of these images. The book is definitely pastel. The paper is ivory with blue and red dotted lines.  Designed in the US – printed in China.

Above: Unfortunately, the pages became separated from the binding when I opened the book.

Bottom Line: Not horrible unless you need the pages to stay in the book.  (Not trying to sound sarcastic here. Sometimes tidy pages out of the book can be handy, too.)

SAN FRANCISCO PEN SHOW 2014: Review and Haul

Mr. Pentulant and I decided to head down to the SF Pen Show over the weekend (Saturday) and I thought you’d like to hear all about it.

The show was held at the Sofitel Hotel in Redwood City. It was a bit south of SFO, but easy enough to find – just look for the Oracle campus and take a right on Twin Dolphin Drive.

There were probably 50-60 vendors. I’m wondering if some who were expected didn’t show up? There was a large empty area to the right as soon as we entered – as in about 10-15% of the floor space.

I wasn’t too surprised at the small size of the show. The DC Pen Show was just two weeks ago, after all. The crowd was decent Saturday morning (we arrived around 11:00) and it looked like money was changing hands – all good news.

The SF Pen Show is a on/off thing – meaning that some years there isn’t a show.   I’m so glad it was on this year and definitely wanted to support the vendors who showed up to sell.

There were many familiar names and faces. Susan Wirth was there, Franklin-Christoph,, Mike it Work, Wahl-Eversharp, Bittner, Arizona Pens, Carmen Rivera, Steve Curnow, and many familiar faces even though I don’t know all of the names.

Here’s what I ended up with . . .

I’m a huge fan of my friend Steve Curnow, what he does, and how he does it. These handy notebooks (think Field Notes, but better) are filled with Tomoe River Paper.  Three notebooks for ten bucks, yo.

Steve also had a sample of ink waiting for me. It seems he found a GALLON of vintage Skrip Washable Blue.

1. How does someone “find” a gallon of ink? (Maybe he wasn’t being literal?)
2. Do I trust this old old ink in one of my fancy pens?

Mr. Pentulant scored this sweet Sailor Pro Gear Mini. He loves a cap that screws to post and this one has been on his wish list for quite awhile.

At the LA Pen Show earlier this year, I was so tempted by George Butcher’s Arizona Pens, but ultimately decided to pass.  I didn’t pass this time!

I want to tell you all about George and his pens, but will save that for when I review the pen. I can’t wait.

Carmen Rivera has very good taste in pens. This is the smaller and slimmer version of the Pilot Vanishing Point – called the Sesenta.

I don’t know much about this pen, but I’m definitely willing to learn. I love the pattern – it almost reminds me of a leopard print, but not nearly as tacky as that could be on a pen 😉

Wahl-Eversharp has an interesting history and it was difficult to choose just one.  I’m really excited about this pen – and so many others in line.  Can’t wait to talk more about them and Syd Saperstein.

I ultimately decided on the clear demonstrator (look at that packaging!).

I picked up two bottles of ink.  Above – Sailor Jentle Grenade

Below – J. Herbin Lierre Sauvage

Lierre Sauvage (and Lily Tomlin) is responsible for one of my most popular Instagram posts ever. At the time of that writing, I only had a sample. Excited about writing a complete review of this one for you.


Rhodia makes yellow paper! I’m oddly excited about this because I’ve never seen it available.

Annnnd….I have no idea what I’m going to do with the paper below, but I had to have it. It’s huuuuuge – that’s a box of J Herbin ink sitting on top of the paper.

So! That’s it.

Bottom Line:  It was a good time, lots of super-friendly people selling some really beautiful items. I only wish the show was bigger.

Were you there?

PAPER REVIEW: Mnemosyne B5 Notebook by Maruman

Shopping for paper online is wonnnnderful. Shopping for paper in a store is like, whoa.

Feeling the creaminess of the paper. Studying the color of the lines. Pondering the lay-out and line width. Comparing sizes, and bindings, and covers, oh my.

I found this Mnemosyne B5 Notebook by Maruman at Maido in Japantown, San Francisco. I love that store. I could move in there. (Especially because there are noodle and mochi shops nearby. Yum.)

This notebook is a B5 size. It measures 176 x 250 mm. That’s 6.9 x 9.8 inches for those of us who don’t speak millimeters. Such a pleasing size. Neither too long nor too wide. It can be laid open on the corner of a desk without being too much in the way.  Fold it over on itself and it’s not too big to be held in one hand. I’m digging B5.

This yellow sheet is the first page in the notebook. It looks like instructions, but it’s in Japanese. And it’s a little confusing at first glance because these pages do not have vertical lines, but this example page does. What the heck?

It turns out that there are teeny-tiny very light vertical marks on the paper near the header and then again at the bottom of page to help us create tidy vertical lines on the paper. If you want to, that is.

You can see one of these little marks in the picture below.  Such a nice touch – love the easy flexibility.

Each of the 160 pages (80 sheets) has gray dotted lines that are spaced 7mm apart. Every ten lines, there is a heavier solid line. These heavier lines lines divide the writing part of the page into three equal sections. These lines are not so intrusive that you have to use them, but they’re there if you want to. Again, easy flexibility.

The paper is white, but not screaming bright white
The binding is wire-o. Pages are perforated.

But…how does it perform?  Check it out . . .

No feather, no bleeding, tiny amount of ghosting (show-through).

The paper on top of the writing sample is Clairefontaine 90gsm. The Mnemosyne is definitely a softer white.  The paper is buttery smooth with an expensive look and feel.  I paid  $8.95 for the notebook and while that’s a lot when compared to a Mead notebook, it’s about what I’d expect to pay for a premium product.

Bottom Line:  I love this notebook and can definitely see using it for work notes or at home for planning or maybe even scribbling down quotes I love.

If you’re not near a store that carries Maruman products, JetPens has it – for around $15. (Making me feel like I got a pretty good deal!)

Tell me which notebooks you love? And do you love B5? I asked on Instagram and A5 seems to be more popular.


PAPER REVIEW: Field Notes – Arts & Sciences Edition

Over and over again, I buy Field Notes brand Memo Books. I’m not sure why . . . the paper quality of most editions I’ve seen is Just Not That Good and not very suitable for fountain pen use.
(Un)fortunately, they get it just right sometimes. And that’s enough to keep me coming back for more.  You know what I’m saying? It’s like pizza delivery – they get the order right just often enough to make me try again another day.

And that brings us to the 64-Page Note Book from Field Notes. The Arts & Sciences limited edition. The big one.

Some things about the  note book. . .
measures 4.75” x 7.5”
110 lb cover stock
50 lb bright white paper paper with silver ink
printed with light gray lines on right side of book – blank on left
staple bound (also called saddle stitching)
rounded corners
made in the US

Two more things about this note book . . .

  1. It’s not fountain pen friendly
  2. I’m going to use the hello out of this book
Annnnnd this is why I keep coming back to Field Notes: despite the fact that this book is comprised of average components with a standard design, I adore it.
Field Notes: they’re easy.

Enough pages to fill with good information, not so many that the book is even a little bulky. The front covers are iconic in their simplistic design. (This one has a deeply debossed logo on the front cover.) The inside covers are filled with interesting little tidbits, and at the end of the day, It Just Works.

So. Like so many before it, I won’t be using my fountain pens with this edition of Field Notes, but I will be carrying it with me for list making and planning purposes.  And by the time I’m finished filling the note book, it will probably be a bit tattered and worn (thank goodness for those rounded corners), and it may even be stained with pizza.
There are other great little notebooks out there. I’ve been loving Curnow Bookbinding & Leatherwork and Yellow Paper House (a new shop on Etsy), and they are definitely fountain pen friendly.
And what about you, dear reader? Which little notebooks do you love? Or love to hate 😉

GIVEAWAY: Apica Notebooks

Last week, I reviewed the super-posh Apica Premium C.D. A5 Notebook.  While preparing for that review, I searched my stash and found, these smaller (and slightly less posh) Apica Notebooks and decided to give them away.

Here’s what you’ll get . . .

Apica CD-11 Notebook – A5-sized – 28 lined pages
Apica CD-5 (Wee Little) Notebook – 36 lined pages

In it to win it? Leave a comment below.

All Kinds of Disclaimers and Stuff:  Your entry must be received by July 16. Winner need not be present to win (please don’t come to my house, that would just be weird). Open to entrants with mailing addresses in the US and Canada. I bought and paid for these notebooks.