Pleased To Meet You: TUL Pens by OfficeMax- A Review AND a Giveaway!

Meet the TUL family

Our local OfficeMax store closed a number of years ago, and since then, I’ve lost touch with the brand. So when a representative offered to send me a set of the latest generation of TUL pens, I jumped at the chance, especially because the offer included an additional set to give away. I’ve been test-drivingwriting them for most of the week, and can wholeheartedly endorse the TUL line.

Here are the players:

Medium point, black ink

Medium point, blue ink

Medium point, black ink

Fine tip, black ink

To be honest, in the past I’ve shied away from store-brand pens because of performance issues, but OfficeMax’s TUL line changes that. All of the pens in this line are stellar performers, and easily match the quality of comparable Uniball, Zebra, Pilot, and Sharpie pens. TUL pens ARE the real deal.


I’ve been particularly taken with the smooth dark line of the retractable ballpoint, which is tricky to get right, judging by the number of so-so ballpoints that are on the market. The super-affordable TUL ballpoint is the one that I’ve been reaching for since it arrived. The ink is just that good. The smooth rubber grip makes it easy to hold, and I really like the clean and simple lines of the pen. It’s minimalist in looks, but certainly not in performance.

Marker, Ballpoint, Gel, and Rollerball

The fine-line marker pen, with its clear cap, dimpled black grip, and simple branding also appeals to me. No gimmicks, just a precise line that doesn’t feather or bleed. Very nice. The fiber tip feels quite sturdy, like it’ll easily hold up for plenty of sketching or note-taking.

Top to bottom: Marker, Ballpoint, Gel, and Rollerball

The retractable gel pen is very simple looking, with a black body matching the extra-long smooth black grip. Again, the gel ink writes great. No skipping. No smearing. No complaints. Same goes for the capped rollerball…the black liquid ink is perfect making bolder lines and bolder statements.

Lest you think all of this pen goodness comes at a premium price, check out these links to for the good news:

Marker Pen

Superior performance AND pricing. Great looks and super smooth inks. That’s TUL, by OfficeMax. Check them out at your local OfficeMax store or online.

My only disappointment is that it doesn’t appear that the boxed set featured in this post & giveaway is available for purchase. (Hint, hint, OfficeMax!)

I know what you’re saying…yeah, yeah, yeah, but how do I WIN a set??!! It’s as simple as the design of the TUL pens:

1) Leave a comment on this blog by 11:59 PM Wednesday 10/31/12 (Halloween!). One comment per person, please!
2) Each comment will be assigned a number based on the order in which it was posted.
3) A random number generator will be used to select the winner of the set of all four TUL pens. The winner will be announced on this blog the evening of November 1st. OfficeMax will ship the pens to the winner directly.
4) US residents only, please.
5) GOOD LUCK! Hope you win this Halloween treat!

TUL pens, I AM pleased to meet you. This looks like the start of something good.

Disclaimer: I received the TUL products mentioned in this post from OfficeMax in order to facilitate my review. The items featured in this giveaway are also provided by OfficeMax and will be sent to the winner directly. Opinions expressed in this post are 100% my own. I have not been compensated for this post in any other way.

Channeling Your Inner Tigger: The Tiger Stripey Pen by Ken Cavers


Even if you’re fundamentally an Eeyore (me!), there are some things that can bring out your inner Tigger; some things that can make you bounce with excitement and utter that Tigger-esque WOOHOOHOOHOO! My Tiger Stripey pen is one of those things. Made by Ken Cavers, a physician in Winnipeg, Manitoba, the Tiger Stripey is a complete package of fountain pen goodness.

Tigger with Tiger Stripey

My Twitter feed is full of interesting pen and ink enthusiasts. We trade opinions of pens and paper and ink, and share photos of our pen-related loot. Ken’s photos of his handmade pens immediately caught my eye, especially the Tiger Stripey pen that he’d recently finished and shared. This thing looked HOT. After a short stint on my wishlist, I contacted Ken to get my very own. The cool thing about Twitter (and Ken) is that I was able to see my pen progress from a rectangular block of acrylic to the finished pen in just a couple of days. Two weeks later (agonizing wait for the mail!), I had the Tiger Stripey in hand.

I chose the clipless model, preferring, in this case, to have nothing draw the eye away from the wonderfully swirled orange and black acrylic. The goldy-orangey swirls, in particular, shimmer and shine, and are almost like looking into a hologram. You can see into the depths of the acrylic. Very cool. HOT and cool.

Pretty eye catching, eh?

The two-tone German nib (a medium) is crazy smooth. Ken’s note said that this particular nib had been very good to start with, but that he’d also done a bit of smoothing to make it absolutely perfect. It really IS luscious (and I don’t throw that word around lightly…or at all). Filled with Montblanc’s Mystery Black, this is a dream pen. Simply great. And handmade. Which seems like a little miracle to me.

Sehr gut! (High school German for “very good.”)

So when I’m using the Tiger Stripey, my Eeyoreish tendencies evaporate, and I’m full of Tigger-like enthusiasm. Though my bouncing days are over, I’m bouncing on the INSIDE.

Tigger agrees.

So in conclusion…WOOHOOHOOHOO!

To Have and To Hold: The Montblanc Meisterstuck (Fineliner)

Nineteen years (+1 day) ago, I ended the day with a new husband and a new pen. I still have, and ENJOY, both. Truth be told, I sort of twisted Fred’s arm. For the pen, not the marriage. At around $100 it seemed outrageously expensive (and WAS, interesting enough, about double the cost of my wedding band). But I wanted it, mentioned it, and Fred took my strong, strong hints. It’s a rollerball Meisterstuck, and for a number of years, I was a little (a lot) scared to use it. What if I lost or damaged it? Why take the chance when I had a bunch of disposable “who cares” pens? I created a little pen shrine. I worshipped/protected the pen, but rarely used it.

Eventually it dawned on me that a dusty pen is as bad as dusty marriage, so I took the pen out of its case, purchased a few refills (the rollerball and Fineliner refills both fit in this particular model), and started using my gift. I’ve been using it for journal and calendar entries, as well as grocery and to-do lists. As with anything of value, I’m careful with it, but I’m having fun with it, too. The pen AND the marriage.

Made of polished black resin, my pen features gold accents, and the signature Montblanc “snow cap.” I never knew, until I was reading the included Montblanc booklet tonight, that each pen has its own number engraved on the ring of the clip. Cool detail. I’m particularly enjoying the Fineliner refill, which I would classify as a porous point. It’s firm and smooth. Really nice.

Here’s to having and holding and loving. The pen AND the marriage.

EDC: The Pen Project

I’m strangely fascinated by EDC (everyday carry) photos…those pictures of the daily “essentials” that people carry in their pockets or bags or purses. I’m ESPECIALLY drawn to the ones featuring pens and notebooks (as opposed to knives and phones and watches), which is not the least bit shocking, I know.

So when I stumbled onto The Pen Project (by Ian Schon) on Kickstarter (love his video), I signed up in a nanosecond. Well, quickly, anyway. Ian is an engineering student who designed the perfect EDC pen. Mine arrived a few weeks ago, and it truly is carried every day. I have one of those “all other duties as assigned” jobs, and folks are always passing along issues while I’m running around. I FINALLY learned to carry an index card or two to jot down these “on the fly” notes, so having a pen AT ALL TIMES is essential. This pen has been a godsend. It’s with me, but it’s not in my way.

Ian Schon’s pen and my Leatherman Micra…both EDC

Designed and machined in Massachusetts, the pen is 100% USA made, including the Fisher Space Pen refill (which is made in NV). I was immediately drawn to the minimalist look, and impressed with the thought and work that Ian put into the design. It’s as impressive in hand as it is in concept.

The closed pen measures just shy of four inches…nicely compact…but extends to just under six inches when the cap is screwed onto the back of the body, making it full-size for writing.

Transformed for writing

The body is made of an aluminum alloy, and features a brass setscrew, which is removed to replace the Fisher refill. (I use my little Leatherman to do that.) Because the body is fully sealed, there’s no risk of the pen coming apart, or uncapped, in your pocket.

Brass setscrew. Nice accent and functional.

Popping in a new refill is as easy as removing the setscrew, pressing down on the tip of the old refill to loosen it, then replacing the refill and the screw. And because the pen takes the Fisher Space Pen refill, I can take notes in zero gravity, upside down, and in extreme cold and heat. In case, you know, there is a need to do so. This is a refill that you can rely on, no matter WHAT your day throws at you.


Ian’s pen is made to be used AND to last. And last. And last a little longer. How rare that is, and how refreshing.

Do you have an EDC pen? I’d love to know.