Cocoa Paper: Quality Custom Cover

I enjoy color. I know, it can be hard to tell. πŸ˜‰ Unfortunately for me, my favorite notebooks don’t come with colorful covers. So, in June last year, I made a custom fabric cover. It turned out… alright. It was a bit too big, and the construction wasn’t the best, but it wasn’t too bad for a first try. I used some gorgeous fabrics, and that’s really the only reason I’ve kept it as long as I have.

Switching to a different notebook brand with my current notebook seemed like a good time to abandon that old cover. Unfortunately, while the Rhodia is more colorful than the Firma-Flex, it stains badly.

Back of Rhodia Goalbook showing staining
Look at all that ugly staining. The front and spine are just as bad.

So, I went looking for a new cover. I didn’t think it would be so difficult.

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Dark Radiance

Before I get started, let me say I take no responsibility from pen envy or impulse purchases resulting from this post. Pen porn abounds. You have been warned. Now, enjoy!


I fell in love with my Tamenuri Studio pen when Michal posted his close up images (see image 2 below).

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FOREO, A Solution to My Mascne

When we first had to wear masks, I used an N95 cup mask we had left over. I didn’t have a problem with mascne with that mask, since it barely touched my face. It wasn’t very comfortable, though. When I had to replace it β€” the elastic broke β€” I eventually settled on a KF94 mask for its comfort.

LG airwasher black particle mask kf94
I highly suggest this mask. It’s comfortable and keeps the mask off your nose and mouth.
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A Fun New Pen Case

Recently, I purchased a Raymay Detecool Pen Case after watching a JetPens video (Detecool segment starts at 0:16). I wasn’t sure how it would work out for my pens, but I was very pleasantly surprised.

The Detecool case zipped up.

After using it a few times, I can happily say it’s my favorite traveling pen case. Here’s some of what’s so great about it.

Link to JetPens photos: https://www.jetpens.com/Raymay-Detecool-Pen-Case-Gray/pd/30952

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Unseating the Firma Flex Notebook?

Three years ago, I wrote about my favorite notebook at the time, the Franklin-Christoph Firma Flex. It remained my favorite notebook for years, until, sadly, it was out-of-stock for an extended period of time late last year and early this year.

In that time, I went looking for a replacement notebook. This was partially because I wasn’t sure if the Firma Flex would ever be available again and partially because I’ve been looking for a notebook with paper that will better show ink shading.

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Fragonard’s Exquisite Fragrances

I don’t know how I never wrote this post. I thought I had, then when I was reorganizing my blog, I realized that I was either mis-remembering, or never posted it. I’m going to try to keep this short for you all. I know I tend to run on.

In December of 2017, Jim and I went to London, with a planned day trip to Paris. One of my goals for the trip was to find a perfume I loved.

I’ve tried many over the years, but none of them really did it for me. So I stopped buying perfume. But I had high hopes, especially in Paris, since we planned to visit a perfume museum.

We didn’t realize, when we planned the trip, that the museum wasn’t for all perfume β€” that one is in a different part of Parris. Rather, it was a museum on the history of the brand Fragonard. And the Fragonard store is immediately next door.

We visited the store first, and it didn’t take me long to find Belle de Nuit. It smelled amazing, and is still one of my go-to, everyday perfumes.

Me being me, I did some research on Fragonard once we got home. One of the things I found was their mailing list β€” their physical mailing list. Imagine my delight when my first mail from them arrived with perfume samples!

Fragonard single use samples.
You can get a wide variety of samples, including masculine scents (the geometric pattern packet).

On top of that, each quarter they have free gifts with purchase for various price thresholds. Some of them are, honestly, just OK. But some are rather nice. I wish there was an option to choose whether or not you want the gifts, because I dislike that some have gone to waste.

Anyway, I’ve bought multiple other perfumes from Fragonard since then, and each one has been exceptional. The scents are complex, with different top, middle, and heart notes. And the fragrances generally last all day. Their mini sets are fabulous. I wish they had more mini sets, though. Or, even better, a build-your-own samples kit. I would absolutely buy a “one of each” sample set to try out their entire line.

Smaller bottles
Two of the mini sets you can buy to try a variety of scents.

The bottles and packaging are beautiful, with some that would make great display pieces.

Fragonard specialty boxes
The specialty boxes are beautifully designed.

Over the years, I have noticed some changes. They send less samples with each mailing and purchase (down to 2 from 3 or 4). They’ve also transitioned from three gifts with purchase tiers per quarter to two. But both of these changes happened in the past year, so they may be COVID cutbacks, and I can’t really fault them for that.

Overall, I highly recommend Fragonard. If you aren’t a big perfume person, they also have lovely soaps and room scents. At the very least, you should sign up for their mailing list. It’s well worth it.

My full Fragonard collection
My entire Fragonard collection, not including the samples I have yet to use.

Chocolate Mini Reviews

Well, this is the last 2021 DC Pen Show post. I’ve milked it for all it’s worth. But, it’s been fun taking a more in-depth look at my haul. I haven’t really done that before.

Brandon Lee of Modern Chocolatier is a bit of a fixture at the DC Pen Show, typically seen next to Ryan Krusac‘s table. This year, however, he was up near the entrance, which made it easier to make multiple visits.

Brandon had 20 flavors with him, and I ended up getting all but 2 β€” Curry Lime and Habanero.

My DC Pen Show chocolate haul
I always forget to take photos of chocolates. I’m too eager to eat them. There are actually six not pictured, we’d already finished the fifth box of 4.

While it will be a year (assuming COVID stop the world again) before I can have more, I’d like to share my thoughts on the various flavors. And it will serve as a good reminder for me to get my favorites next year.

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Pen Mini Reviews

While I certainly think it’s worth reviewing some of these pens I picked up at the 2021 DC Pen Show, this post is really just an excuse for pen porn and penabling. You’re welcome. πŸ™‚ I’m doing these in the order I bought them at the show.

As usual, click on any image to view it larger.

Five of my six 2021 DC Pen Show acquisitions

Only interested in certain pens? No worries, jump to specific reviews.

Iron Feather Creative | Gravitas | Divine Island Designs | Namiki | Mythic Pens

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Nib Mini Reviews

I picked up five nibs at the 2021 DC Pen Show. Of those, one was a standard Jowo #6 with a horned skull engraved on it from Carolina Pen Co. While it’s a fun nib, since it doesn’t have any modifications beyond the engraving, I’m not including it in this review. But here’s a fun picture. πŸ™‚

Skull nib installed in Gravitas Skull pen
Such a great combo. πŸ™‚
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