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Monday, February 16, 2015

It's Presidents' Day

It's Presidents' Day - a day to celebrate the past presidents of the United States.  What better way than with the Retro51 Lincoln pens.  These are made of copper and make a bold statement.


Lincoln is available as a fountain pen, rollerball, pencil or ballpoint.  The antique copper will patina more with time and use.  

The fountain pen comes with a medium nib and accepts the standard international ink cartridges and converter.  It comes with 2 short ink cartridges and the converter would need to be purchased separately.
The rollerball and pencil come in a set or can be purchased separately.  The rollerball accepts the standard short capless rollerball refills.  The pencil comes with the 1.15mm lead and a package of the black erasers.
The ballpoint comes with a small rubber stylus at the top and is a twist action pen.  The refills are a standard mini ballpoint refill.

I discovered the wonders of Lokta paper as well and have paired up my Lincoln fountain pen with the Travel Journal in Walnut, my Lincoln Rollerball with the Buffalo leather journal and the pencil with the small 4"x4" hardcover journal.  My ballpoint stays with my iPhone in its case.

Lokta Paper Products

All in all, I love the look and feel of the Lincoln pens and hope to have them for a long time.

- By Pen Boutique Staff  : Joy 

Friday, February 6, 2015

Thoughtful Valentine’s Gifts List

Valentine’s Day is fast approaching. Less than ten days to go before the day of love arrives in shades of pink and red, and tiny hearts patched all over it. If you have already got the perfect gift for your significant other, kudos to you. But if you haven’t, chances are that so far you have no gift ideas and may be you never will. This is where we step in. We bring to you an assortment of gift ideas that might be your only saving grace, come 14 February.

1. Letts of London Verona Lilac Pocket Academic Diaries
Isn't it pretty?
The pocket sized academic calendar could be a way of saying “Every step you take, I will be with you”. It is unconventional but what is a Valentine’s gift if it is ordinary. The sturdy faux leather cover is a soft shade of pink with lilac imprints on them and comes with a ribbon bookmark. The white pages inside features holiday information, dates and weeks, notable dates and more handy information. It is a great gift for a girly soul who likes to keep organized. Plus it is easy on the wallet.

2. Napkin Forever Cuban Inkless Pen
Forever and ever
For the one that you wish to be with forever, what better gift than one that would last forever. Napkin Forever Cuban Inkless Pen is a stupendous pen crafted from recycled wood. Ergonomic in design (so that your loved one should never experience hand fatigue and cramps again), the pen features an alloy metal for a tip which scribbles just like the graphite tip of a pencil, but it is inerasable. And the metal alloy doesn’t wear down, making the Cuban Forever an everlasting gift.

3. Parker IM Premium Pink Pearl Ballpoint Pen
Pink Parker
The pen is a beauty. The metal body has cool blocks-like patterns engraved on it and is complemented by chrome trims. It is smooth and elegant, and while it looks delicate and soft, is pretty sturdy in built. It can easily be an everyday pen. You can also find it in fountain pen mode if you would prefer that. It is just gorgeous. Just not as gorgeous as your beloved.

4. Pilot Namiki Vanishing Point Red/Rhodium Fountain Pen
Ravishing Red
It is unique, just like your S.O. Stylish, classy, different and pure joy to be with could be the adjectives that define your beloved and they do the same for the Pilot Namiki VP fountain pen. And what is more Valentine-y than a splash of bright red.

5. Eccolo Murano Glass Precious Red Heart Square Paperweigh
I could just melt
Personally, I totally have dibs on this and so should you. It is a stunning example of imperfectly perfect things. Handmade in Italy, no one piece is the same and there lies its uniqueness. And doesn’t the little red heart totally scream love? It is a masterpiece that would have anyone over the moon upon receiving it.

6. Retro 51 4 EVER Tornado Popper Twist-top Rollerball Pen - Limited Edition
Retro way to ask her out
What better way to ask someone out on Valentine’s Day than to let a pen do all the talking. The “Be Mine, Hold me, Wink Wink” cover on the Retro 51 4 Ever Tornado Popper Rollerball Pen is really sweet and a limited edition. Pair the gift with some flowers and a box of chocolates and sweep your love off her feet.

7. Caran d' Ache Wenger Swiss Red Small BP Gift Set
Everything you need
The gift set is the coolest thing to gift your loved one, who is always up for outdoor activities and going around fixing things.

8. Waterman Carene Glossy Red Ballpoint Pen
Red Hot
So what if you cannot gift them a yacht, the streamlined Waterman Carene Glossy Red Ballpoint Pen will do the magic. It is a beauty in its own right and will lighten your wallet a bit too. But it is worth every penny.

You are welcome!!


Thursday, February 5, 2015

My Top 10 Favorites

At Pen Boutique I have seen it all when it comes to pen. I have seen the good, the bad and the ugly, and while it is easy to pick out the rotten of the lot, it is never easy to pick out a favorite. Well, the list of good pens does run longer than the list of bad. But even if it were otherwise, the task of picking out the top 10 favorite pens would have been tough. At least it is for me, because I have always felt that my decision would hurt “the feelings” (of course, I know things don’t have emotions and NO, I am not crazy) of those which I don’t pick. So, whether it is a movie, a book, a shoe from my wardrobe or food, I can never decide my favorite. Yet, despite the agonies, just for you dear readers I have churned out a list of my top 10 favorite pens ever. So hold your breath and live this moment; I don’t do this very often.

In no particular order (for the fear of getting a stroke), here is my list of 10 favorite pens.

1. Namiki VP Carbon Fiber (M)

A fountain pen that is retractable – need I say more. And it is beautiful. Namiki Vanishing Point pen in carbon fiber finishing is a stunning example of art meeting architecture. I love the smart designing that has been put into the pen and it is a unique model that is worth investing in. And if design and structure wasn’t enough to get it scoring, the 18k gold nib fitted in the Vanishing Point is butter smooth. I have a medium nib in use and it is faultless. No wonder, it is in my list of favorite pens.

2. Visconti Demo Fountain Pen(F)

I have always had a great liking for transparent things, like the clear raincoat and umbrella. There is just something reassuring and comforting about being able to see what is going on behind the scenes. I have similar emotions for the Visconti Demonstrator. And while there are other transparent pens, what makes Visconti Demo stand out is that the clear barrel works double as an ink reservoir. A piston knob is at the end of the barrel for ink filling purpose. The pen is of a nice weight and the SmarTouch nib from Visconti gives a smooth performance on paper. It looks fantastic and writes well; what else does it take for a pen to be counted worthy for a “favorite list”.

3. Montegrappa Nero Uno Linea Rollerball Pen

Montegrappa Nero Uno Linea Rollerball pen stole my heart with its unpretentious style. While the traditional octagonal shape of the brand has been retained, it has been given a contemporary twist of conical alignment and grid patterns on the barrel and the cap. Made of deep, black resin, the pen feels great on hand, which encourages me to pick it up every time I write.

4. Waterman Carene Amber Shimmer Fountain Pen (M)

I share a fair amount of affinity for Waterman Carene Amber Shimmer fountain pen, because while it boasts a rather professional look, the lacquer work on it exudes of mischief and fun. There is something about it that is secretive and playful which is very appealing to me. I love the gold trims and the 18k gold nib which doesn’t fail when demanded of. And it has a comfortable weight when writing which is a bonus point to its already super fantastic performance.

5. Monteverde Artista Crystal Transparent Medium Demo

This just goes to show my aforementioned emotions towards transparent demo pens. And it comes in fun color options. Made of high quality acrylic resin, Monteverde Artista Crystal Transparent Medium Demo pen is light weight and writes decent with the iridium stainless steel nib. It easily fits the slot of an everyday pen and is super cool at being that.

6. Monteverde Impressa Fountain Pen (M)

I am fond of good pens, but I am fonder of good pens that come at surprisingly reasonable price. Speak of a pen that looks like $100 but costs $50 and you don’t have to look further than the Monteverde Impressa Fountain pen. With no engraving or embellishment of any kind on the entire body, the pen is the definition of “beauty in simplicity”. Coated in lacquer and highly polished, the fountain pen is presentable and writes very well too.

7. Monteverde Catalina Fountain Pen (M)

The resin body comes in three color choices and each one is reminiscent of the island the pen is named after. Just looking at the pen is enough to have you dreaming of warm, wet sand and cool, salty breeze of the sea. But what helps it make it to my favorite list is its deceptive size. The pen boasts a rich thickness but when held to write, it doesn’t have the heft you would expect. Pair this with a nice ink and you would add this to your everyday pen list.

8. Lamy AL-Star Fountain Pen (F,M,B,1.1)

Inspired by the Safari series of Lamy, the Al-Star fountain pen has inherited a lot of likeness to Safari, but has a sturdier aluminum body. It is the reason why the Al-Star is my preferred Lamy. Plus, while it is stocked with comfort, durability and rich color choices, it is not expensive. Add to that the interchangeable nib feature of Lamy and it scores another brownie point.

9. Fisher Space Pen Purple Passion Bullet Ballpoint Pen

First of all, I love the bright, succulent purple hue on the pen. It is just very attractive. Now, getting to why the Fisher Space Pen Purple Passion Bullet Ballpoint Pen is my top 10 favorite pen – it is a great pocket pen and it never fails to perform. It would top the list of an everyday pen for sure.

10. Fisher Space Infinium Titanium Nitride Ballpoint Pen

There was no way it was not going to be in this list for the simple reason that it will never run out of ink as long as I live. It seems to go on forever. And it has killer, tough looks and feels very comfortable when writing.

Let me know what would be on your “Top 10 Favorite Pens” list. Any thoughts on what should and should not have been on my list? Let me know.

Friday, January 23, 2015

The Urgency of a Handwriting Comeback

Happy National Handwriting Day
A look at the open diary in front of me (which belongs to me) and the notebook that is carelessly tossed a meter away (which belongs to my colleague), and there is little doubt in my head about the dire need of a national handwriting day, every day of the year. We have that bad handwriting. The hypocrite that I am blames technology. With the advent of computers and mobile phones, we are habitual of typing instant text messages and send it in a jiffy.  What is the use of laboring over handwriting anyways when there are easier methods?

This National Handwriting Day, 23 January which is not only the birthday of the American founding father, John Hancock, whose signature on the Declaration of Independence is one of the most iconic piece of handwriting, but also a reminder of the fast disappearing act of handwriting, we want to evoke the need of handwriting, because it is beneficial for you.  

Studies have proven time and again the importance of handwriting; neurologists and psychologist have found a significant interrelation between the art of handwriting and learning. An article in the NY Times summed up that neurologists have found that children learn to read more quickly when they learn to write by hand. The same article stated that writing improves idea generation and retaining of information. The article quoted Stanislas Dehaene, a psychologist at the College de France in Paris say, “When we write, a unique neural circuit is automatically activated. There is a core recognition of the gesture in the written word, a sort of recognition by mental simulation in your brain.”  She was quoted concluding, “And it seems that this circuit is contributing in unique ways we didn’t realize. Learning is made easier.”

Another study carried out by Virginia Berninger, a psychologist at the University of Washington demonstrated that children produced more words more quickly when writing by hand that on a keyboard. Also they expressed more ideas. But the benefits of handwriting aren’t limited to children only. Handwriting has proved to increase memory and ability to process new information in adults. So, while writing itself has been said to bring strong physical and mental health, which includes improvement in mood and happiness, why not accelerate the benefits by switching to handwriting.

As a writer, with a pretty bad handwriting I find fountain pens to help to some extent. The consistent flow of ink, and the richness it depicts as strokes form letter and then words, inspires any writer. It has been discussed that perhaps the reason why ideas form better when handwriting is due to the pressing of the nib on to the paper that keeps us focused. While typing, one is banging away on the keys and has his focus divided between what s/he is writing and the movement of the fingers. I personally find to be pouring more words and more ideas on the paper when writing by hand than when typing on the keyboard.

And yes, you could be writing with a ballpoint pen or a rollerball pen but there is something deeply satisfying about the flex of the nib on the fountain pen and the smoothness of the ink and the visual treat the profound, wet lines provide. The line variations that seem to bounce off from one extreme to another and the shades created by the fountain pen is special and nothing can compare to it. Also, with fountain pens there is a certain ownership which could be because of its comparatively expensive price or the fact that you intimately fill her up and cleanse her that motivates you to keep using it and writing with it. And then there is the ultimate fact that the best of calligraphy or handwriting is achieved with a fountain pen. Cursive handwriting, which studies has proven to improve patience and creativity in children and adults alike is the most beautiful when done with fountain pen.

So, this National Handwriting Day, take up a fountain pen, or any writing tool for that matter and write by hand. Scribble your deepest, darkest thoughts or your impromptu ideas. Create poems or fantasize stories and if not that just try and improve your handwriting. Write by hand; if not for the sake of reviving the art of handwriting and the creativity that follows it, then for your health sake, which has been proven to benefit when you handwrite.

National Handwriting Day Contest!!

Submit your handwriting and win a fantastic fountain pen 
Do your friends tell you how beautiful handwriting you have or you secretly (or unabashedly) admire your own handwriting then this is a contest for YOU!! To celebrate the National Handwriting Day, January 23, 2015, Pen Boutique brings to you a contest, where you can flaunt your handwriting skills and win a fantastic prize while doing so – the prize is a Parker Urban Fountain Pen.

How to Participate

1. Scan or click a picture of your best handwriting
2. Send it to us via email at customerservice@penboutique.com.


Contest Starts: 1/23/2015
Contest Ends: 2/2/2015


The aim of this contest is to remember the purity and simplicity of picking up a writing instrument and jotting down words in swift strokes of your hand. It is also an attempt to resurrect the lost art of handwriting. The day also celebrates the birthday of John Hancock, an American founding father who was the first to sign the United States Declaration of Independence and whose handwritten signature is the most prominent and recognized of them all.

The Prize :   Parker Urban Fountain Pen

Total Giveaway Quantity : One

Number of Winners : One

Winner Selection

Our staff here at Pen Boutique will choose the best handwriting of the lot and select the winner.


Shipping

Free shipping to Winners within USA. International participant shipping will be additional and you can also add it free to your any pending orders.

Eligibility

All USA citizens are encouraged to participate. International customers are welcome to participate but shipping will be additional and you can also add it free to your any pending orders.

 More Legal Stuff

1.) This giveaway/contest is void where prohibited by law. The contestants assume the total responsibility of knowing their local laws in regard to "National Handwriting Day" Contest and are subject to any local, state, national or international laws. Friendship Circle accepts no responsibility for making these individual legal determinations.

2.) Winner is solely responsible for any taxes on their respective prizes.

3.) No substitution of prize is offered.

4.) Prizes are non-transferable.

5.) Prizes should be claimed within 30 days of the announcement of winner. Any claims made after 30 days will be considered void. Pen Boutique, Limited, USA, is not responsible for any such claims after that time.

6.) If a prize, or any portion thereof, cannot be awarded for any reason, Pen Boutique, Limited, USA, reserves the right to substitute a prize with another prize of equal or greater value. That determination will be made by Pen Boutique, Limited, USA.

7.) Winners must verify their email and shipping address when contacted.

8.) Winners name may be used on future Pen Boutique, Limited, USA, marketing media, including, but not limited to Facebook, website & blog.






Thursday, January 22, 2015

Sheaffer VFM Pen


Sheaffer VFM Rollerball Pen
For those who are feeling a bit leery about taking a leap into the world of fountain pens, I have a solution for you that will not only give you a fine writing experience but is also an economical one.

The Sheaffer VFM line, so named because they are Vibrant, Fun and offer Motion, are a recommended place to start your journey. The line comes in fountain pen, roller ball and ball point. I own a fountain pen and roller ball.

I get a kick out of some of the descriptive, inventive color names including: "Chilled Blue," "Excessive Red," "Strobe Silver," and "Ultra Mint."

The satin color finishes and nickel plated trim showcase the sturdy, though not heavy, stainless steel metal body. Both VFM pens I own post tightly and clip securely.

The fountain pen can use a standard international cartridge which will open up your opportunities to explore various colors and the easy ability to replace your cartridge, due the the standard international cartridge availability. It glides smoothly and the pen weight feels comfortable in the hand while scripting.

Not needing a Sheaffer propriety rollerball refill, you again have the option to test various colors refills. I currently have a Schmidt green refill.

The Sheaffer VFM line affords the opportunity to investigate writing instruments in bright colors and various style types in a way that is both fun and affordable.

By Vicki M

Thursday, January 1, 2015

A Brand New Year!!

Happy New Year 2015!!
So, I just relived the year 2014 again on the internet in less than an hour and let’s just say that it was profound. I cannot believe so many major things happened around the world in a span of 365 days and so many of it has already been forgotten. From natural disasters that claimed thousands of lives to school attacks that wrenched every heart throughout the globe and signs of the world going stupid to proofs of brilliant minds and beautiful souls, 2014 was surreal.

But like Brad Paisley said, the beginning of each year is the first blank page of 365 page book. It is a whole new day, a clean slate to start with. It is a New Year. And like everyone preparing their resolution for the year ahead, Pen Boutique is keeping its best foot forward too. Last year for us was very eventful. We participated in DC pen show, gave away so many prizes to our adored customers and gave everyone a reason to take up a pen. We also celebrated out 10th year anniversary last year; coming year will be our 11th. The pen world itself was abuzz with so many wonderful moments. We saw DC comics heroes and villains revive through Montegrappa pens. The pen that spots mistakes was a breakthrough and the one that creates edible art was delicious.

With the New Year inching in, here is hoping that the days ahead will bring forth new inventions, new discoveries and new milestones in the world of writing instruments. We hope that the torch of literature shall be ever aflame so brightly. And we are oh-so-sure that there will be more events held at Pen Boutique, even more contests and many more prizes to give away. Stay tuned with us the year ahead.

Wishing you all a very happy and prosperous New Year 2015!!!!

- Pen Boutique

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Conklin Mark Twain Crescent Filler Fountain Pen

Conklin Mark Twain Crescent Filler Fountain Pen 

The name Mark Twain means many things to many people – it may conjure images of the Mississippi river; jog memories of mandatory school reading; or just remind us of one of the greatest writers to have put pen to paper.  While it would be very hard to find anyone who did not know who Mark Twain was and what he accomplished, it is likely that most give little to no thought of his most important tool – his writing instrument.  During the later years of his life, it was the Crescent fountain pen manufactured by Conklin Pen Co which became Twain’s instrument of choice.  He enjoyed it so much that he became Conklin’s official spokesman in 1903.  Conklin has continued to manufacture the Crescent fountain pen, now dubbed the Mark Twain Crescent Filler collection in honor of his patronage, to the same specifications as when it was available in the early 1900’s.  The Crescent pens derive their name from the crescent half ring which protrudes from the body – rotate a safety ring so that a gap is lined up directly under the crescent, press on the crescent to deflate the bladder located inside of the body, release the crescent and ink will fill the bladder via suction – the safety ring is then rotated to avoid any spill issues.  Twain’s appreciation of this particular pen was due to the half-moon crescent – it kept the pen from rolling off of his desk when he set it down.

Conklin has created a Limited Edition transparent version to allow users to see the inner workings of the Crescent line.  Available with either Rose Gold or Black Titanium coated metal accents, only 1898 pieces are available.  This quantity was chosen as it was the year in which Conklin was founded.  The limited edition number can be found on the metal ring at the bottom of the cap, right underneath the re-creation of Mark Twain’s signature which is present on all of the Crescent pens.  The body and cap are constructed of a clear acrylic.  The material from which the bladder is made is also transparent, which leads to a very clean appearance when empty.  The nib on either version is stainless steel, with the Rose Gold in Conklin’s usual two tone and the Black Titanium coated to match the other metal pieces.  It is available in Fine, Medium or Stub.  The Medium nib is a smooth writer, with just a hint of wetness displayed with light to medium pressure.  A little more pressure, like what you would find yourself using for a ballpoint, and the nib was wet enough to feather on cheap paper.  The cap is light so it is not bothersome when posted.  The safety ring located between the crescent and the body of the pen is graduated – it is slimmer at the gap and gets thicker as it goes around the body.  This allows you to turn the ring so that it rests squarely between the two pieces and does not allow any movement of the crescent.  My one caveat – if you are even the least bit OCD, you will find yourself continuously threading and unthreading the cap onto the pen until the clip lines up with the crescent, even more so with the transparent edition since you can see the nib!

The Conklin Mark Twain Crescent filler line gives us the ability to experience writing with the same instrument used by one of the most influential and celebrated writers of all time.  The crescent alone is a conversation starter, not even taking into consideration Mark Twain’s use.  The pen itself feels like a quality piece and the nib provided a smooth writing experience.  I like the Limited Edition’s transparency, though any of the Crescent line pens would work just as admirably.  This is definitely a piece to add to your collection whether you’re a history buff, a literary fan or just fond of unique writing instruments.

- Joe

Friday, December 5, 2014

10th Anniversary Special Giveaway Contest - NOW CLOSED

***************************CONTEST CLOSED**********************

Pen Boutique’s 10th Anniversary Special Giveaway Contest is now closed. Hence, we would like to put you all out of your misery and reveal the correct answer. Mount Everest is located in NEPAL.
We would like to take this opportunity to inform you all that the contest received an overwhelming response and Pen Boutique is thankful to all the participants for their unmatched enthusiasm and zeal. We will announce the Lucky Winner of the contest shortly, who will get a Pelikan Mount Everest Fountain Pen, as promised.

If you have submitted the right answer, then you might as well win this fabulous pen. Keep an eye out for a notification from us. Cheers!!

Penmanship for Holiday Season

Parker Red Sonnet Fountain Pen
In this fast paced world of new technology and busy days it is not often we get a reason to stop and reconnect to our traditions. Sending holiday cards allows us that excuse to connect. When carefully addressing aunt Betty's or cousin Bill's card we have the opportunity to not only use our best penmanship, it grants us permission to utilize our finest writing materials and ink. I enjoy getting into the spirit by using a red fountain pen and green ink. In the wonderful world of fountain pens there are many, many options of green ink to grace your cards and letters. Some of the most fitting green colored ink includes Diamine Evergreen, J.Herbin Vert Empire, Noodler's Polar Green, Montblanc Irish Green along with a multitude of others. One of my favorite descriptions of an appropriate green is the Pilot/Namiki Iroshizuku Forest Green: "It embodies the unchanging color of a dense evergreen forest in a long winter."

I have found my perfect pen & ink combo to script my holiday cards. The Parker Sonnet red lacquer gold trim fountain pen and Sailor Four Seasons Special Edition Tokiwa Matu Green bottled ink fit the task with bells ringing. The intensity if the green and the easy feel of the Sonnet complement each other in an exacting manner.

So take some time off from your baking and wrapping this year and choose the ideal fountain pen and bottled ink for you. If you realize that you enjoy the experience so much you decide to use it year long, for all your correspondence, your secret is safe with me. I won't tell Santa!

By Vicki M

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Retro51 Tornado - Love, Peace and Happiness Review

Retro51 Tornado Love, Peace and Happiness Rollerball Pen
The Tornado line has been and still is Retro51’s bread and butter.  Offered in many different colors and designs, it is a workhorse pen that blends comfort and reliability.  Each Tornado pen arrives with a capless rollerball, extended by twisting the rear knurled grip, which provides a smooth writing experience.  The body of the pen is brass and is generally covered in lacquer or a design, after which a layer of protective clear lacquer is applied.  The body tapers from back to front, with a clip protruding from beneath the branded ring at the back end of the pen.  Retro51 has released a good selection of numbered Limited Edition Tornado pens and their newest is the Love, Peace & Happiness edition in a run of 500 pieces.  This particular edition boasts an antique brushed look to all of the brass pieces, with the body covered in 25 different languages for the words “love,” “peace” and “happiness.”  The words expose the brass body beneath a matte cream lacquer.

This is a striking piece, helped in no small part by the antique brass accents.  The limited edition number is engraved into the ring above the clip and is finished in the same matte cream color as the body – a nice touch as it can sometimes be hard to locate this number depending on its placement.  The cream and brass complement each other very well.  As with most of the Tornado line this piece has a nice weight to it – not too heavy, not too light – and feels very well balanced when in use.  The diamond pattern grip at the rear makes it easy to extend and retract the refill.  An interesting note is that if you have a favorite Parker style refill which you prefer over the capless rollerball that comes with the pen, the Tornado line allows you to switch between the two.  This opens up the types and colors of refills that can be used in conjunction with these pieces.

The Retro51 Tornado checks all of the right boxes – affordable, attractive, is available in many different colors and designs, has a good weight and feels good in the hand.  Add to the equation that two different types of refills can be used and it makes these hard to resist.  The Limited Edition Retro51s always go fast, especially since they are priced at the same level as the other pieces in the line.  Whether you are a collector or an enthusiast, the Retro51 Tornado Love, Peace & Happiness is a great pen for just about everyone.

- Joe (Pen Boutique Limited, 5560 Sterrett Place, Suite 101, Columbia, MD 21044)

Platinum Preppy Fountain Pen

Platinum Preppy Fountain Pen
The newest Platinum Preppy Fountain Pen is here and ready for shipment.  The latest choice is now an Ultra Fine, 0.2mm.  It is available in Red, Black and Blue/Black.  This is the perfect pen for sketches and taking notes.  There was minimal scratchiness when writing with this pen.  The price point is very reasonable for a re-fillable fountain pen.  The variety of colors makes them great for drawing and the see-through barrels lets you know the exact ink level.

The Preppy is still available in the Fine, 0.3mm, and Medium, 0.5mm.  There is also the highlighter and marker options.  The pens will work with a Platinum converter or ink cartridges.

The ink cartridges are available in Black, Red, Pink, Purple, Blue/Black, Yellow, Green, Light Blue or Brown.  The highlighter colors are Yellow, Blue, Pink, Orange or Green.
The Preppy makes a great Holiday gift for under $10.00.

- Joy

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Graf von Faber-Castell Tamitio Fountain Pen Review

Graf von Faber-Castell Tamitio Fountain Pen 
The Graf von Faber-Castell Tamitio line brings the high quality and craftsmanship of the luxury brand to the affordable price levels of the workhorse Faber-Castell lines.  It is an elegantly designed piece which is constructed of a metal body covered by multiple layers of varnish.  This varnish imparts a matte finish which is non-reflective and smooth to the touch.  The front section, rear section and cap are all polished metal.  The nib is stainless steel and plated with Rhodium.  The body has fluting which not only gives the pen a sleek look but also allows for a solid grip.  The Tamitio is available in Black, Rose or Taupe and all share the same polished metal accents.  It is offered as a fountain pen, rollerball, finewriter, ballpoint or mechanical pencil – the finewriter uses a felt-tip/fineliner type refill.  The fountain pen includes a Graf von Faber-Castell converter, is compatible with short international cartridges and is offered with an Extra Fine, Fine, Medium or Broad nib.

The attention to detail and finish on the Tamitio line really shine through on this piece.  This is a weighty pen, no doubt due to the metal and varnish used extensively throughout the body.  I found the fluting in the body to be both grippy and comfortable.  The pen sans cap is weighted very well, and posting the cap did not throw that balance off too much.  The Rhodium plated nib is very smooth, though the Medium was a little on the wet side for my tastes.  I do like the black shield located at the top of the cap – it draws the eye and sets the logo apart from the silver colored metal.  The nib unscrews from the front section, making cleaning extremely easy.

From sight alone, the Tamitio fountain pen is unmistakably from the expert craftsmen at Graf von Faber-Castell.  The lines of the cap and quality materials utilized are sure signs of this German manufacturer.  The pen is a smooth writer, with a nib that is easy to use and easy to clean.  The Tamitio is an easy and affordable step up from Faber-Castell pieces into the luxury pieces offered by Graf von Faber-Castell.

- Joe (Pen Boutique Limited, 5560 Sterrett Place, Suite 101, Columbia, MD 21044)


Cross Luxury Peerless 125 Review

Cross Peerless 125 Luxury Collection
The newest pen in the Cross Luxury collection is the Peerless 125.  The original Peerless pen was introduced by Cross in 1889.  These pens are beautiful in their finishes of Black Lacquer, Platinum and 23k Gold Plate.  Each pen has an individual serial number, on the cap, that you can register with Cross.  The Navy Blue and White box is a show piece on its own.  The inside is white velour and each pen comes with a clear Cross pen stand for displaying.

The Obsidian Black Lacquer has the Platinum trim, the Platinum is available with either Platinum or 23K Gold plated trim and the 23K Heavy Gold Plate is all gold plated.  The top of each pen has a Swarovski faceted cut crystal.  The pens have the legendary Cross lifetime mechanical warranty.  The combination of classic Cross style with a gorgeous finish, makes these pens desirable as an heirloom to be passed down to future generations.

The Fountain Pens all come with a solid 18K Gold/Rhodium plated nib and are available in a Fine or Medium size.  The cap is threaded and weighs 1.5 oz.  It is 5.7" capped and 6.16" posted.  Price range is $450.00 to $550.00.

The Rollerball cap is threaded and weights 1.8 oz.  It has the same dimensions as the fountain pen.  It comes with the Black Cross Gel Rolling Ball refill.  The refills are available in Black, Blue, Red or Purple.  Price range is $225.00 to $325.00.

The Ballpoint pens arrive with the Black Medium Satnink refill.  Additional refills are available in Black or Blue, Fine or Medium.  It weighs 1.5 oz and it 5.68" long.  Price range is $175.00 to $275.00.

- Joy

Sunday, November 16, 2014

International Day for Tolerance

Jessica Lange once said, “Acceptance and tolerance and forgiveness, those are life-altering lessons”.  When the UN General Assembly gathered the UN Member States in 1996 to pen 16 November as the International Day for Tolerance, their thoughts might have been similar to that of Lange.

With wars blazing across the planet, especially in the name of faith and violence in all shapes and forms surfacing, the International Day for Tolerance seems even more significant today. Observed every year on 16 November, the day is dedicated to educating people about the negative effects of intolerance. It also tends to encourage tolerance and respect towards rights and beliefs of others, focusing on the negative impacts caused by injustice, oppression, racism and discrimination.

Different activities are carried across the globe in different manners by different groups to celebrate the day. Educators write articles about tolerance while human rights activists organize events and speak on human rights law, focusing on banishment and punishment on hate crimes and discrimination. Secretary General of UN, Ban Ki-moon said about this day, " On this International Day of Tolerace, I call on all people and governments to actively combat fear, hatred and extremism with dialogue, understanding and mutual respect. Let us advance against the forces of division and unite for our shared future."

But the actions inspired by this day should not be limited to the day. The day is to advocate and inspire others, while the rest of the 364 days are to work for a tolerant community, city, nation and most importantly a tolerant you. So, let’s join our hands together for a more tolerant society, so that we and the future generation could live in a more harmonious and peaceful society.


Friday, November 14, 2014

Pilot Namiki Vanishing Point Copper Fountain Pen - Review


Meet Pilot’s newest addition to the Vanishing Point line, the 2014 Limited Edition Copper.   I had been admiring the Vanishing Point pens for a couple of years now, waiting to see if they would come out with a model that I couldn’t resist.

As bright as a shiny new copper penny, this pen really called out to me. It is almost as much fun to just look at as it is to write with.  The 2014 Copper pen comes with rhodium appointments on the barrel and clip and a rhodium-plated medium 18k gold nib, which I found to be a little wetter than I had anticipated and could possibly be too broad for some writers who are used to the finer points of most Japanese pens. Inverting the nib allowed me to write in a finer font than when holding it in its normal position.

This pen is an absolute joy to write with when partnered with a smooth writing paper, such as Clairfontaine or Rhodia. Since I use my fountain pens for both writing and drawing I was elated to find that the 2014 Copper is not too heavy to hold for long periods of time.

This pen would be a great gift for any collector on your Christmas list. Even if that collector is you!

Linda

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Taccia Covenant Fountain Pen Review

Taccia Covenant Fountain pen
Taccia Covenant Fountain Pen
The Taccia brand first came to my attention with their Savanna line of buffalo horn pens.  This is a unique pen, and Taccia has kept that uniqueness with the Covenant series of fountain pens.  The first thing that comes to mind when looking at this pen is a cigar.  The cap, which is more of a sheath than anything else, covers almost the entire length of the pen itself.  When posted, only the front section of the pen is visible; when capped, only the rear section can be seen.  It is a very interesting design, as the elongated cap has now been repurposed – Not only does it protect the nib, but it protects the body and is more like a carrying case than a cap.  The pen can be used separately or in conjunction with the cap.  Taccia offers three colors – Jet Black, Midnight Breeze or Parchment Swirl – with either a Fine, Medium or Broad nib.  The body and cap are made of hand-turned resin and the two tone nib is flexible and made of stainless steel.  A converter is included, or one could use international size cartridges if preferred.  A retractable ballpoint is also available in the same three colors.

The Covenant is an interesting pen – upon first look, the posted cap makes the pen look like it would be too unwieldy to use comfortably.  However, I found that the large cap fit very well between my thumb and knuckle joint, with the leading edge of the cap resting on the meat of my thumb.  That being said, it does feel a bit heavy in the rear when used this way, so I found I preferred using the pen sans posted cap.  The pen itself is weightier than it looks, likely due to what looks like a good amount of metal in the front section as well as some in the body.  While flexible, the nib did not give as much line width variation as a Noodler’s Ink pen would.  This is certainly not a knock on the nib and if you’re not interested in one that is ultra flexible, then this performs very well.  The pen feels well constructed and ready for every day use.  One caveat if you are posting the cap – unscrew the pen by gripping the threads.  If you have screwed the body in too tightly and grip the front section, you will end up unscrewing the front section only and leaving the body in the cap.

While the posted look (or even the capped look) may not be for everyone, the Taccia Covenant should not be ignored if looking for a new fountain pen.  The cap is a value-added feature, since it doubles as a protective casing for the pen itself.  In hand, the pen performs very well – it is comfortable, of a good length and girth, and imparts a feeling of quality while in use.  Style-wise the Covenant is a no frills affair that would be at home next to a Churchill cigar, right down to the clip “band”.  If you want a unique piece that writes well, or even just a weightier resin pen, then take a look at the Taccia Covenant.

- Joe (Pen Boutique Limited, 5560 Sterrett Place, Suite 101, Columbia, MD 21044)



Christmas Gifts for All

Happy Holidays Everyone!!

The fire crackles warm and bright,
The beautiful tree stands astride,
As I open gifts on this glorious night,
I hear Christmas carols, 
And everything is all right.

That time of the year is nigh, when we celebrate not only the miraculous birth of Christ, but also life, love and family. Christmas is just around the corner, and as Christ brought us the gift of life, we are prone to gift others good things, for the sake of giving. And since, giving is better than receiving, we bring you a list of cool items that you will rejoice giving others, this holiday season.

For Him
Getting a gift for men, whether it is your father, brother, friend or a significant someone is very difficult. The search gets even frustrating, with the holiday season breathing warm air on your neck. To rescue you from the heated, messy affair of buying the right gift for a man, we bring you a list of favorable gift options below. Choose wise, choose as you please.

Cufflinks
Cufflinks make for a great gift for any hard working man, who cares about his appearance. And even if the receiver is your brother or a friend, who is yet to tread the white collar world, cufflinks can be a thoughtful and useful gift. Raise the bar and go for something exclusive such as a Visconti Bridges Carbon Graphite Cufflinks and Montblanc Silver Oval Rhodium Plated with Black Obsidian Cuff Links, or you can also get cufflinks that cost less than $100.

Pens
A good fountain pen has always been a trademark of rich legacy and education. Gift a fine pen to a man and he will value it forever. A gorgeous pen from noted brands such as Montblanc, Visconti and Parker is sure to add an added flair to this entire gift affair. If you are aware of something he has been eyeing on for a while than your job is made even easier. If not, try to dig out information of his idol. Pen brands keep releasing pens designed after famous people. With luck, you will find what he would cherish.

Wallet
This is the easiest or the laziest gift to give a guy. I say easiest, because every guy needs it, and laziest because we assume every guy needs it and end up buying the first, cheap wallet in view. But it doesn’t have to be so. Make an effort to know the preference or need of the receiver and shop accordingly. Brands like Bosca, Burberry and Cross might be your saving grace.

Watch
If you have the bucks, then wristwatch is the probably the second most common gift for men. They like it; they use it, and watches make for a smart, stylish and sophisticated gift. Find a stylish one from Montegrappa and Tissot, and surprise the man in question.

For Her
Buying a gift for a girl can prove to be tricky. What you think she wants may not be the thing she really wants, and vice versa. So, the best thing to anyone can do when choosing a gift for a woman, whether mother, sister or the significant other is to really know what she really likes. But in case this is a last minute shopping and you cannot figure out what she likes, then here are some surefire gifts to keep her gleaming with joy.

Cashmere/Pashmina clothing
Ladies love clothes, whether they are shopping for it or receiving it as a gift. Why not make her happy this holiday season with a warm cashmere or pashmina scarf, shawl or gloves. Sweaters aren’t a great idea, here. Show some warm love in the cold winter!

Pens
Pens make for a safe option as gifts for women, but a savvy-safe gift. Depending on who you are giving it to, pick an inexpensive pen or an expensive pen. But we ask you, not to be a penny-pincher. Spend a few extra bucks on a fine pen for the lady and it will be appreciated. If anyone cares, I have dibs on the Caran d Ache Dunas Shiny Red Fountain Pen. Thank you!

Jewelry
What kind of woman doesn’t like jewelry? Occasion or not, a woman loves to be showered with jewelry. Earrings, finger rings, necklaces and what not. Just make it real and she will love it.

Spa Day
A hardworking woman needs a spa day, any day of the year. Whether she is a stay-at-home mom, or a CEO of a multi-national company, she deserves a break for doing everything she does. Buy her a spa day, filled with full-body massage, manicure, pedicure, sauna, Jacuzzi and what not. Trust us she will enjoy every bit of this gift. And on second thought, maybe this gift isn’t so bad for men too. After all, they deserve a relaxed day too.

Merry Christmas!!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

10th Year Anniversary Special Giveaway


Pen Boutique 10th Anniversary Special Giveaway Contest !!

In which country is Mt. Everest located?

Name the country where Mt. Everest is located and win Pelikan Special Edition Mount Everest!

How to Participate

Like our Official Facebook Page to become a fan.
1. Answer the contest question correctly.
2. Answer here
https://www.facebook.com/pensboutique?v=app_1630325090527960

3. Win the contest!

Contest Starts: 11/6/2014
Contest Ends: 11/30/2014

Do you know where the world’s highest summit is located? 
Pen Boutique is 10 years old. To celebrate this joyous occasion, we bring to you yet another chance to win an exotic writing tool. As Pen Boutique strides ahead to reach the top of its game and provide the best service in the world of pen purchase, we want to give our valued customers and well wishers an opportunity to land their hands on a very special pen - Pelikan Special Edition Mount Everest! To win it, all you have to do is tell us the name of the country which houses Mt. Everst - the highest summit of the world. Mt. Everest is 8,848 m high and is located in the country which houses seven other highest peaks of the world; take the hint.

Be a part of our 10 years celebration, answer this simple question and if you win, celebrate with the Pelikan Special Edition. We encourage all our customers, well wishers and followers to take part in the 10th Year Anniversary Special Giveaway Contest.

The participation will be transparent as it will be visible to all on Facebook. The winner of this contest will be announced on our Timeline and Pen Boutique blog (blog.penboutique.com) upon the completion of the contest deadline.

The Prize :  Pelikan Special Edition Mount Everest (take a sneak peek)

It is worth : $600

Total Giveaway Quantity : One

Number of Winners : One

Winner Selection

Out of all the participants with Correct Answers, One Lucky Winner will be chosen randomly by the system. The name of the winner will be declared in the contest spot as well as she/he will be contacted through the Facebook profile used to participate.

Shipping

Free shipping to Winners within USA. International participant shipping will be additional and you can also add it free to your any pending orders.

Eligibility

All USA citizens with valid Facebook ID are encouraged to participate. International customers are welcome to participate but shipping will be additional and you can also add it free to your any pending orders.

 More Legal Stuff
1.) This giveaway/contest is void where prohibited by law. The contestants assume the total responsibility of knowing their local laws in regard to "10th Year Anniversary Special Giveaway" Contest and are subject to any local, state, national or international laws. Friendship Circle accepts no responsibility for making these individual legal determinations.

2.) Winner is solely responsible for any taxes on their respective prizes.

3.) No substitution of prize is offered.

4.) Prizes are non-transferable.

5.) Prizes should be claimed within 30 days of the announcement of winner. Any claims made after 30 days will be considered void. Pen Boutique, Limited, USA, is not responsible for any such claims after that time.

6.) If a prize, or any portion thereof, cannot be awarded for any reason, Pen Boutique, Limited, USA, reserves the right to substitute a prize with another prize of equal or greater value. That determination will be made by Pen Boutique, Limited, USA.

7.) Winners must verify their email and shipping address when contacted via email address on file.

8.) Winners name may be used on future Pen Boutique, Limited, USA, marketing media, including, but not limited to Facebook, website & blog.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Kaweco Ice Sport Ballpoint Pen Review

Kaweco Ice Sport Red Transparent Ballpoint Pen
Kaweco Ice Sport Red Transparent Ballpoint Pen
I went pen shopping with my daughter and she fell in love with the Kaweco Sport pens.  She is 5 and this series of pens are just her size.  She went straight for the Ice Sport Red Transparent Ballpoint pen, since Red is her favorite color.  
The Sport series uses a standard mini ballpoint refill, so I can find the refills easily.  The simple push button on the top is easy and smooth.  The pen is a little over 4" long and about 1/2" wide.  The octagonal shape prevents the pen from rolling off the table or desk.  A clip is available, in gold or silver color.  The Sport is available in a Fountain Pen, Rollerball, Ballpoint or Mechanical Pencil.
Kaweco has been around for over 130 years and is based in Germany with retailers all over the world.  The Sport series was first started in 1912 and is still popular today.  Many of the Kaweco pens are less than $100.00, with the Sport under $30.00.  

- Joy (Pen Boutique LTD, Suite 115, Columbia, MD 21044)

Faber Castell E-Motion Fountain Pen Review

Faber-Castell E-Motion Pure Black Fountain Pen
Faber-Castell E-Motion Pure Black Fountain Pen
The e-motion has long been one of the most popular Faber-Castell lines available.  It has mainly been built with a wood or precious resin body and metal front section, cap and rear section.  Faber-Castell’s latest iteration is a whole metal affair – the Pure Black edition.  This is a modern looking, minimalist designed writing instrument. The body is made of an anodized aluminum with a guilloche pattern engraved on it, which offers a tactile feel and grip without being too rough.  The front section, cap and end piece are chrome plated and then finished in matte black.  The fountain pen’s nib is stainless steel coated in PVD, and is available in Fine, Medium or Broad. Faber-Castell also offers this line in Rollerball, Ballpoint or Mechanical Pencil.  The fountain pen uses international size cartridges and a converter is included.
 While a bit shorter than most other pens, the tapered cylindrical shape allows the e-motion to fill the hand.  The all metal construction leads to a weighty pen – 1.9 oz as measured on our postal scale.  The cap is .7 oz and the body is 1.2 oz.  While somewhat shorter in stature than most pens, the Pure Black does not feel inconsequential. Posted, the length is just right and I found the shorter body and heavy cap to create an overall well balanced writing experience – the combination of the smoothness of the nib and the weight of the pen made writing with the e-motion very enjoyable.  I like the feel of the guilloche pattern on the body, and the front section is of a good diameter as well.  The nib is removable, making cleaning a breeze.  If I had to choose one issue, it would be that the guilloche pattern traps dust and lint very easily, and the black color makes this easy to see.  However, a quick wipe with a cloth and it goes back to looking brand new.  Something that I really like about the finish on this piece is that it will not readily show fingerprints, unlike chrome plated pens.
 The Faber-Castell e-motion Pure Black fountain pen is by far one of my favorites – It is understated, yet catches your eye; it is shorter, yet has a surprisingly nice weight; it is easy to clean, easy to write with, and should be on everyone’s must-try list.
- Joe (Pen Boutique Limited, 5560 Sterrett Place, Columbia, MD 21044)

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Sheaffer Taranis Fountain Pen Review

Sheaffer Taranis Fountain Pen
Sheaffer Taranis Fountain Pen
Most recognizable by the signature white dot which adorns the clip, Sheaffer has long been a respected name in the world of pens.  Sheaffer collaborated with famed US architect Charles Debbas to bring us the Taranis line of pens.  Debbas has taken his characteristic feature – minimalism – and melded it into this line.  The overall shape and design of the fountain pen when capped is the definition of minimal, with a rounded middle slowly shifting to squared ends on either side.  The clip is rectangular and fits nicely with the aesthetics of the body.  Uncapped, the user is greeted with a front section adorned with the Sheaffer name (hidden when capped, no doubt to keep in the vein of the minimalist aesthetics) and a hooded nib, which helps keep a tidy and simple appearance.  The fountain pens are compatible with Sheaffer converters and Skrip cartridges, both of which are included with the pen.  The Taranis line is also available in Rollerball or Ballpoint, and in five different colors – Stormy Night (black), Icy Gunmetal (grey) or Sleek Chrome (silver) with chrome trim, and White Lightning (white) or Stormy Wine (burgundy) with gold trim.

The Sheaffer Taranis fountain pen is well balanced, and it felt most comfortable while using it posted.  The nib is smooth – it reminds me of a Pilot/Namiki Vanishing Point both in feel and looks.  If I were to nitpick, it does seem to be a little on the wet side with a Medium nib though nothing that would keep me from using it as a daily writer.  The front section where the Sheaffer name is present is flat and I found it to be a good resting place for my pointer finger while in use.  It is nice that a converter is included, as not all fountain pens come with one, especially as it is proprietary to Sheaffer pens.  This is my go-to suggestion when someone is looking for an affordable pen as it blends great writing performance with modern styling.

While it is aesthetically an unassuming pen, the Sheaffer Taranis is one of the smoothest writers I have used.  If you are looking for an understated daily pen with a fantastic nib, the Taranis is hard to beat.

- Joe (Pen Boutique Limited, 5560 Sterrett Place, Columbia, MD 21044)

Lamy Wild Rubin (ruby) Studio Pens

Lamy Wild Rubin Studio Pens
Lamy Wild Rubin Studio Pens
The Lamy Wild Rubin (ruby) Studio pens have finally arrived!  The pictures I first saw of the Wild Rubin reminded me of the Lamy Royal Red color.  Boy, was I wrong.  The true color of the Wild Rubin does not come through in the pictures.  The Ruby color is shimmery and bright, not a matte color at all.
The Wild Rubin has a stainless steel barrel and polished chrome accents.  It has the iconic propeller clip.  The fountain pen and rollerball are the same style as previous colors, but the ballpoint is now tapered and has a longer front section.  The finish is smooth and lacquered, not the usual satin metal finish.
The fountain pen is available with a stainless steel nib or a 14k nib, both pens come with a converter and ink cartridge to start writing right away.  The 14k fountain pen arrives in a gift box with a bottle of blue ink.
All in all - these are beautiful pens and a great addition to any pen lovers collection.

- Joy (Pen Boutique LTD, Suite 115, Columbia, MD 21044)

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Sailor 1911 Fountain Pen Review

Sailor 1911 Fountain Pen
Sailor 1911L Fountain Pen
In 1981, Sailor introduced their 1911 series as a celebration of the company’s founding in its namesake year.  The line can be had in a number of different sizes, shapes, colors, and nib configurations.  The 1911L, which stands for Large, is a step up in size from the 1911S (Standard) both in diameter and length.  Other than the nib, clip, and decorative rings, the pen is made entirely of resin.  This imparts a light weight that is easy to handle, even in this larger iteration.  The 21k Gold nibs range from Extra Fine all the way up to Music, and includes Sailor’s Medium Fine for those that find the Medium too broad but the Fine too thin.  The 1911 series traditionally uses either cartridges or a converter, though Sailor has recently created the piston filled Realo line.  Both the cartridges and converter are proprietary Sailor designs, and the cartridges are available in Black, Blue, Blue/Black, Red, or Pigmented Black or Blue/Black.  The pigmented inks are waterproof, but extra care should be taken when using these as the tiny particles that cause this characteristic may create issues if the pen is not used or cleaned regularly.
In general, Sailor’s nibs tend to run a size smaller than a Western counterpart – i.e. the Fine writes like an Extra Fine, the Medium writes like a Fine, etc.  In testing a Fine nib, I found this to be true as the pen laid down a very thin line.  Despite the Extra Fine-like width, the nib was smooth, no doubt aided by the 21k Gold construction.  The pen was comfortable to use both posted as well as with the cap left off – another advantage of the light weight.  The larger size compared to the Standard version allowed for a solid grip without much effort, which is something I have come appreciate when having to write for long periods.  I did notice that the nib had a little flex to it, lending a slight variation to line widths if I was so inclined.  This led to a line that was more akin to a Western Fine.
The 1911L looks good and writes well.  Sailor has done a fantastic job in creating a piece that is large enough to use comfortably yet light enough to not fatigue your hand while doing so.  If you are looking for a thicker pen with a smooth nib and classic good looks, the 1911L should definitely be at the top of your list.
- Joe (Pen Boutique Limited, 5560 Sterrett Place, Columbia, MD 21044)