The Pen Addict Podcast: Episode 360 - Cancelling is Not an Option

Brienne Writing

Don’t do it Brienne! My feeds blew up when one of the biggest stationery mistakes possible was made in the series finale of Game of Thrones. I make Myke begrudgingly discuss that, plus my newfound Lamy Safari Ballpoint fandom, and a first look at assembly of the Spoke Pen.

Show Notes & Download Links

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Posted on May 23, 2019 and filed under Podcast.

Nomadic NF-01 Tote Shoulder Bag Review

Nomadic NF-01 Tote Shoulder Bag Review

(Sarah Read is an author, editor, yarn artist, and pen/paper/ink addict. You can find more about her at her website and on Twitter. And check out her first novel, The Bone Weaver’s Orchard, now available where books are sold!)

I love bags every bit as much as I love pens, but I'm way pickier when it comes to bags. I've mentioned before that one of my favorite hobbies is my quest for the perfect bag. And when this Nomadic NF-01 Tote arrived, I was immediately and genuinely worried. Was my quest over? The mixture of joy and dread was real.

Thank goodness--after a few months' use, I can say that it's not perfect. But it's close--close enough that it had me worried for a while. And certainly close enough that I can say that I love this bag.

Nomadic NF-01 Tote Shoulder Bag

This is not the bag for a minimalist and that's obvious immediately by the way it proudly wears its pockets on the outside. In fact, I'd say that's the main downside to the bag: It's odd-looking. Okay, maybe even a little ugly. But for me, pockets > pretty, so I have no problem with the way this bag flaunts its practicality.

Pockets are definitely the theme here. If you like keeping your things organized and in place, this bag does the trick. All told, there are 14 compartments. Bliss. On the front, there's a zip pouch large enough to hold an A5 notebook or two, and it in turn contains two neoprene padded pockets and two mesh pockets. On the front of that is a voluminous snap pouch, zipper pouch, and tall padded phone pouch with another slip pouch on the front of that. On one side of the bag as a slim slip pocket, and on the other is a TARDIS-like zippered water bottle pocket. On the top of the bag, a double-zipper leads to the main compartment that includes a padded slip pocket. Next to the main zipper is a small, shallow zipper pouch perfect for keys or cards.

Nomadic NF-01 Tote Shoulder Bag Inside

With this bag, you always know where everything is. There's no fishing through cavernous pits of debris. Everything just fits. And because the pockets are built onto the outside of the bag, they don't take away from the space inside. I can fill those exterior pouches to capacity and still have the same volume available in the main compartment.

This volume availability is wonderful, but also another downside for me. It's great to have that capacity when I need it, but it's dangerous when I don't. I'll use whatever space a bag has (often filling it with books), and with a shoulder bag this size, that's a short trip to backache city. Especially because there's no padding on this shoulder strap. I know, "that sounds like a you-problem, Sarah, not a bag problem" and yes--that's true. But it's a problem I can solve with the right bag, and this bag is a total enabler. That being said, it's perfect for those times when I do need a bigger bag, like traveling or long day trips. It's just a bit too much to be my everyday bag.

Nomadic NF-01 Tote Shoulder Bag Front

However, if your everyday is a commute or day trip, this may be perfect. And it's certainly built to handle heavy use. The fabric is tough, water-resistant ripstop nylon with a reinforced bottom. Many of the pockets are padded. Everything is stitched well and the zippers are sturdy and smooth. The shoulder strap clips on and the fastening swivels to prevent twisting. I used this bag daily for over a month and took it on several trips. It's certainly looking a little rumpled, but it's otherwise unharmed.

Nomadic NF-01 Tote Shoulder Bag Side

The bag costs $87 at JetPens, which is very reasonable for what you're getting. I've seen similar bags cost twice as much. I've even used some of them, and I think this one is better than most. If you're looking for a high-capacity, highly organized commuter bag, and practicality is your number one priority, this bag is a total winner.

(JetPens provided this product at no charge to The Pen Addict for review purposes.)

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Nomadic NF-01 Tote Shoulder Bag Back
Posted on May 23, 2019 and filed under Nomadic, Bag Review.

Baux Pen Review

Baux Pen Review

(Jeff Abbott is a regular contributor at The Pen Addict. You can find more from Jeff online at Draft Evolution and Twitter.)

We're all familiar with the classic Bic pens. We probably grew up with them, did homework with them, and they're probably stocked in your office supply closet. They're ubiquitous, cheap, and pretty reliable. On the downside, they also don't perform to the level of more expensive gel pens like the Pilot Juice or Uni-ball Signo, not to mention the hybrid ballpoints like the Uni Jetstream and Pilot Acroball. Even though the Bic doesn't produce crisp, dark lines with zero skipping and hard starts, it does a really good job for the price. There aren't many pens that can boast a $1.50 price point...for ten of them. My point is, the Bic certainly isn't the best pen you can buy, but that doesn't mean it's the worst. It certainly has a place, and some people really adore them. So, why can't we have a little custom-machined love for this ubiquitous ballpoint? Well, thanks to Baux Pen Company, you can have a premium Bic experience.

Baux Pen

Baux Pen Company is the joint idea of two brothers — Brian and Dan — who launched the initial version of the Baux (pronounced "box") pen back in 2013 on Kickstarter. The initial version was successful, but they saw room for improvement, and I'm glad they did. The Baux Pen 2 launched on Kickstarter in 2016, and it was another success. Today, you can buy the Baux Pen 2 on their site and even have it customized.

Baux Pen Refill

So what is the Baux Pen? It's an aluminum machined body that takes the generic Bic ballpoint refill (the Bic Stic or Cristal, not the retractable versions). The refill slips into the front nose of the pen and is secured with simple friction. The grip section and the barrel are separate components that screw into each other, which opens up opportunity for fun color schemes.

Before we talk about color schemes, it's important to understand the difference between the standard Baux pen and the premium Baux pen. The standard pen is all aluminum, while the premium version has a titanium or brass grip section. I only have the standard versions, but I'm guessing the titanium pens are a bit lighter and the brass version is a few ounces heavier. Most importantly, they provide a different aesthetic from the anodized aluminum.

Baux Pen Grip

Now, when it comes to color options, there are so many to choose from. You can pick the color/material of the grip section, the barrel, the end plug, the refill collar, and the cap. On top of those options, you can choose the default Baux logo for your pen or a custom text engraving. If you opt for custom text, you have a number of typefaces to choose from as well as a couple of sizes.

Baux Pen Cap

I opted for a blue barrel with lime green grip and end plug. I love the color combo! At checkout, there was an option to add on another "mystery" Baux pen for a few bucks more. I couldn't pass this up, and I'm glad I didn't. The gray and purple color combo is also stellar.

One of the main reasons I decided to try these pens out was to understand if it made the writing experience of the Bic ballpoints any better. I personally have a soft spot in my stationery heart for the Bic, so I was cautiously optimistic that this could do the job. For me, the Baux pen takes the Bic refill into the next level. I really love using these pens during my day. It's tough, colorful, has a reliable refill, and is still fairly affordable at the end of the day.

Baux Pen Bic

The Baux Pen starts at $9.50 and goes up to $15.50 depending on the options you pick. With the custom engraving and color options, these make great gifts as well as personal treats. I can't recommend these enough if you enjoy the classic Bic refill!

(Disclosure: Brad partnered with Brian Conti to create the Spoke Pen.)

Baux Pen Writing
Posted on May 22, 2019 and filed under Baux Pen, Bic, Pen Reviews.