I've been really happy with how things have gone on the blog this year. For the most part, my readership and traffic have grown slowly but steadily, which suits me just fine. Being on vacation for a week has given me a chance to--what else--go back through my posts and pick out a handful of favorites. Even though it's not quite mid-year, I've got a quiet morning and lots of coffee, so why not get an early start recapping the first part of 2016?
- My Top Three Favorite Pen Brands. Without a doubt, my favorite post that I've done this year, and probably one of my top five of all time. Narrowing the pens that I like down to three major brands has also cut down on the number of impulse purchases I've been making (at least with regards to more expensive pens) and my pens are starting to resemble an actual collection rather than just a random accumulation of shiny things that I've snatched up.
- Controversial Changes in the Pen Community. Another post I enjoyed writing, that generated much discussion in the form of tweets, comments, and Facebook posts. Many people agreed with me, and some (strongly) disagreed with me, but the point was to provoke a conversation that I felt needed to be had.
- 2016 Atlanta Pen Show Recap. Probably my best pen show experience to date. If you missed it, you can check out my two-part recap here: Thursday/Friday, Saturday.
- Pen Show Primer Series. I've made an effort to create more searchable resources that are helpful to people just entering this hobby (or people who are looking to "go deeper"). Volume I: Why Visit a Pen Show, Volume II: Getting Ready for a Pen Show, and Volume III: Tips for Surviving the Pen Show.
- Delta Dolcevita Soirée Review. It wasn't until I wrote this review, and started thinking about why I liked it so much, that Delta really solidified its place among my top three favorite pen brands. Look for more Delta reviews this year.
Favorite Stationery Purchases of 2016
Some of these products I've reviewed on the blog, and some of these are still works in progress since I haven't had this stuff for long, but these are things that have stuck with me for more than a few weeks, which typically is a good indicator of whether or not I'll use the product long-term.
- The Hobonichi Techo. Not quite a notebook, not quite a journal. Whatever you choose to use it for, it makes me want to write in it daily. I recently wrote up my first impressions here.
- The TWSBI Eco. Ever since I picked up TWSBI's low-price-point offering, the ECO, it's been a fixture in my rotation. This pen posts fairly well (unlike most of their other large pens), and is a comfortable, reliable writer.
- The Pilot Custom 823. I won't spoil my thoughts on this one too much, since my review is still in progress, but this pen is going to be in my EDC rotation for a long, long time. It's also a favorite of Neil Gaiman, so I'm in good company here.
- The Pilot Custom Heritage 92 Demonstrator. As I said in my review, this pen's crazy overpriced in the States, and the color demonstrators are Japan-only, but it's a relatively inexpensive, high-quality import.
- Pelikan M800 in Burnt Orange. Some people have tagged this pen as Pelikan's effort to "knock-off" the Montblanc Hemingway, but this pen has its own charm. For one thing, the color is slightly different, and these pens with the "burnt orange" color schemes were all designed as homages to the reddish-orange hard rubber pens from the 1920s, like the classic Parker "Big Red" Duofold. I love writing with this pen, and the .4mm Masuyama cursive italic nib is sweet. These are getting scarce, I believe, so if you see one, act now.
Looking Forward to the Rest of 2016: Vacation Semi-Impulse Purchases
As I alluded to yesterday on Twitter, I went a little nuts. Not that any of this was crazy expensive (at least standing alone), but there's a backlog of products I've been itching to try. Among other things, I picked up:
- Some more KWZ inks from Vanness Pens. KWZ has all sorts of offbeat colors, including Honey and Brown Pink. I also ordered two additional colors of Callifolio, Olivastre and Adrinople.
- Pocket notebooks and accessories from Write Notepads. I'm ashamed that I've waited this long to try these out.
- A Seven Seas Writer, Life, and Midori notebooks from Nanami Paper.
- A Dark Lilac Safari and a bottle of the Dark Lilac ink from Goldspot. (Currently sold out at Goldspot, but as of the time of writing it looks like Goulet Pens still has some in stock.)
In other words, I'm restocked for the second half of the year, and looking forward to the rest of 2016!