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Tag: Retrospective

2023 Goodreads Reading Challenge

Posted in Book Blogger

Another year gone means another reading challenge complete. As I’m sure you can imagine, 2023 had some highly-stressful times. As often happens when I’m stressed, I read a lot.

I finished 104 books in 2023. That’s high even for me. That averages to 2 books a week, or a book every 3.5 days. Of course, the average doesn’t tell the whole story. As I mentioned in last year’s post, I have periods of voracious reading, followed by periods of relative calm.

My numbers are also skewed by when I’m offered free, or drastically reduced, Kindle Unlimited subscriptions. I don’t know why Amazon keeps offering me 3 months for 99¢, but I’m not complaining.

Reviewing My 2023 Purchasing Habits

Posted in Fountain Pens

I can hardly believe I’m already writing this, but, happy new year! Welcome to 2024.

So, how did I do last year? Well, if you saw my stats or collection posts, you know I did alright — with fountain pens. I bought more non-fountain pens than I should have. Somehow, I got into my mind that my 36-pen max was just for fountain pens. I’d already changed my thinking to that by July. But, re-reading last year’s purchasing habits review, it’s clear that I intended to buy 36 total pens. Whoops.

What’s done is done, though. So, let’s take a look at how I did with the 36-fountain-pen max in mind.

Year in Review – 2023 Pens

Posted in Fountain Pens, and Non-Fountain Pens

I’m proud of myself for sticking so well to my fountain pen purchase limit this year. I went over by two, although one was an impulse purchase that may be a catch-and-release. I also didn’t expect my Stanford Pen Studio commissions to be ready so quickly. I thought I’d be counting them toward next year’s total.

Unlike last year, I decided to add photos so you can see the pretties. Where possible, I’ve also linked to my dedicated blog posts. Now, enough chit-chat, this post will be long enough as it is. Onto the ranking!

My 2023 Top Tens

Posted in Fountain Pens

Once again, I’m sharing my current top pens. Last year’s approach to my top tens worked well, making me actually stick to lists of 10. I swear, this post gets harder every year. The nibs aren’t too hard, but the pens! It takes me more and more time to narrow down to ten, and then actually figure out the order.

Since I’m keeping to the same format as last year, I’ll compare my lists

But without further preamble, enjoy my top tens of 2023.

My 2023 Brand “Discoveries”

Posted in Fountain Pens

Before I dive into this post, I want to say I “discovered” these brands like Columbus “discovered” America. What I mean by “discoveries” is that I purchased from the below brands for the first time in 2023. That a brand is on this list doesn’t mean that I didn’t know it existed before 2023, although that’s true in a couple of cases. It means that the brand did not have any representation in my pen collection before 2023.

In an unsurprising reduction, I only purchased from seven new-to-me brands in 2023, down from the nine of 2022. It makes sense that with each year I’m in the pen world I will have less new-brand purchases, even more so when I buy less pens overall — more of that in a later post.

What is a surprise is that nearly half of them are mainstream brands. But, enough exposition, on with the plot! Per usual, let’s start with mainstream brands, then jump into the indie brands. FYI: The lists are in alphabetical order.

2023 Mid-Year Check-In

Posted in Fountain Pens

When I wrote about my previous month’s purchases in January and February, I intended it to be a monthly post, but life derailed that idea. Now that we’ve made it halfway through the year, it seems like a good time for a check-in on my 36 pens maximum for the year.

I’m only counting the fountain pens I purchased. Gifts don’t count, and neither do rollerball or ballpoint pens.

Monthly Pen Purchases: January 2023

Posted in Fountain Pens

As I mentioned in my Pen Resolutions Tag and Reviewing My Purchasing Habits posts, I’m trying to limit myself to 36 pen purchases this year. I think that going through my purchases will help me keep on track. So, expect monthly updates on how I’m doing.

A secondary goal I had for myself was to not buy anything in January. My idea was to put January’s allotment toward March to augment my BWIPS “budget.” And I did great, until the 21st. Somehow, in the last 10 days of the month, I bought four pens.

2022 Goodreads Reading Challenge

Posted in Book Blogger

While I’ve meant to, I’ve never actually written a post about my Goodreads Reading Challenge activity. I’ve actively taken part in the challenge every year since 2018. Generally, I’ve been conservative with my goal. In 2022, I went fairly easy on myself, setting a goal of only 36 books.

Since I haven’t looked back at my reading in previous years — on my blog, at least — I want to provide a brief overview of the previous years’ challenges, too. After all, while I know many of my readers are here for the fountain pen posts, 32% of my blog content is related to books.

If you’re interested in what I thought of the books I read, you can take a look at my book review posts, or my Reviewed list on Goodreads. I don’t always review the books I read, and, even for those I do, they aren’t guaranteed to make it on here.

Reviewing My 2022 Purchasing Habits

Posted in Fountain Pens

As should have been obvious in my Pen Collection post, 2022 did not go as I’d planned. My stated goal was to limit my pen purchases to 24 pens. I failed in that. Miserably.

However, I sold 17 pens last year, and none of them was purchased in 2022. So at least I’m keeping up my streak of zero same-year sales.

While I disposed of more pens in 2022 than 2021 (14), my purchasing skyrocketed from 42 in 2021 to 54 in 2022. That puts last year as the second highest purchasing rate since I started collecting. It also had the second highest net collection increase : 37.

My 2022 Top Tens

Posted in Fountain Pens

Once again, I’m sharing my current top pens. I took a somewhat different approach this year, so that I actually choose a top 10. I’m judging my pens based on appearance and the way they write. So I have two different top ten lists. Because of this, I won’t be comparing to last year’s top pens, which ended up being a top 28.

This was just as hard as I expected it to be. I’m fortunate enough to have an absolutely fabulous pen collection, so narrowing it down to my favorites grows increasingly difficult each year.

But without further preamble, enjoy my top 10 pens of 2022 by appearance and by nibs.

Year in Review – 2022 Pens

Posted in Fountain Pens, and Non-Fountain Pens

While it was difficult to do last year, ranking my pen purchases was a useful exercise. So, I decided to do it again. I have to say, I’m embarrassed by the long list of pens I purchased this year. I was hoping to buy less pens this year, not more. But I’ll discuss that in another post.

I realize that this is a long block of text. But, if I added a photo of each pen, it would take absolutely forever to get through. So, for pens that I’ve already discussed in a dedicated post, I’ve linked to that post (and the photos contained therein). For the rest, where possible, I linked to an Instagram photo from the pen maker or store they collaborated with. When that wasn’t possible, I linked to a good photo on Instagram (consider following those fine folks) or one of my own Instagram posts.

My 2022 Brand “Discoveries”

Posted in Fountain Pens

While I didn’t quite buy from 15 new-to-me brands like last year, I did purchase from 9. Now, when I say new-to-me, I don’t mean I’ve never heard of them, just that I’d never before purchased a pen made by that brand.

Nearly all of them are indie brands, which makes me happy as I like supporting indie brands. And my interest continues to be piqued by indie brands more than mainstream brands.

Anyway, let’s start with mainstream brands to get that out of the way, then jump into the indie brands. FYI: The lists are in alphabetical order.

Purchasing Habits Update

Posted in Fountain Pens

So… remember earlier this year when I said, “I want to keep my pen purchases this year to 24 or less?” Well, that didn’t go so well. Here we are, only half way through the year, and I’ve already exceeded that limit by two.

I even tried to finagle the numbers in my favor. Rather than all pens, I first narrowed it down to purchased pens. Because, really, gifts don’t count. They aren’t purchases. And then I narrowed it down further to fountain pens. That cut out 7 pens, including the new Retro 51 Smithsonian Panda that just arrived today.

5-year anniversary

Posted in Personal

It’s hard to believe it’s been five years since I started this blog. I originally considered writing some great retrospective with a side of holy crap, I kept this going for 5 freakin’ years!! But, then I found a tag to do instead. While I haven’t posted consistently for the full 5 years, I am pretty happy that I’ve stuck with it this long. Here’s to another 5!

This post is inspired by Angelica Nyqvist‘s video Well This Has Been Quite The Journey…. In that video, she credits Erica Conger and notyourbasicsteph with coming up with the idea.

One Wasn’t Enough

Posted in Fountain Pens

DISCLAIMER UPDATE (6/24/22): TWSBI and Narwhal have released a joint statement which I cover in my most recent TWSBIgate post. While not completely satisfied with TWSBI’s response to the situation, I no longer feel the need to dissuade people from purchasing their products.

DISCLAIMER (5/1/22): Since writing this post, TWSBI has been involved in some unsavory actions, and I am currently boycotting them. For more information, refer to the #twsbigate tag page.

This post is inspired by Angelica Nyqvist‘s video One Wasn’t Enough… | Products So Good I Went Back and Bought More!!. In that video, she credits Lauren Mae Beauty with coming up with the idea.

While the idea is pretty straightforward, I’m taking a specific facet of it. I’m not examining all pens I had to have more than one of. Instead, I’m only taking a look at those pens that I purchased more than one of the same model because I loved the way it writes. Maybe later I can share pens I bought more than one of because of the way they look. Would you be interested in that?

Anyway, that’s enough blathering, let’s get to the fun stuff.