Pens In Real Life: Taking the Gross Out Of Grocery Shopping

Grocery shopping is a necessary evil. I don’t hate it, but I don’t love it, either. We go once a week, usually on Friday evening, to avoid the dawdling hordes that descend on Saturday. We like to get in and out as efficiently and quickly as possible. But then, who doesn’t?

DotDash grocery list

Oops…I wrote cherries twice. I must really want them.

I use a program called MacGourmet to digitally organize recipes on my desktop iMac. What’s really great is that I can export the recipes from MacGourmet to DropBox as .txt files so that they’re easily accessible via my phone. So even if we’re eating out, as we often are on a Friday evening, I can quickly pull together a grocery list for the coming week. As we brainstorm our needs and wants, I record the list on a Nock Co. DotDash 3×5 card, while also sketching out a tentative menu plan on the back of the same card. We do this every single week. And if we can’t, because of a Friday night event, we feel off-kilter. Creatures of habit, is what we are.

A packed Nock Co. Sinclair

The pen I use to write out the list, and to make my OCD checkboxes, varies from week to week, but it’s often selected from the stash of pens I have stored in my goes-everywhere-with-me Nock Co. Sinclair. I have a lot of stuff packed in there because I like to cover a lot of pen bases for whatever pen need or mood comes my way. Gel ink, liquid ink, fountain pen, and ballpoint options are all represented. It’s a clown car of a pen case. The Nock Co. DotDash card easily handles whatever type of ink I throw at it. Plus the grid is the perfect guide for drawing the checkboxes. I find them comforting. (Is that weird?)

Grocery list and Karas Kustom's INK rollerball

The pen I chose to write out my list this Friday was the INK rollerball by Karas Kustoms. (Huh. I’m not seeing the rollerball version on their site at the moment.) The Schmidt P8126 liquid ink refill is bold and smooth. The INK rollerball is a great writer that’s as fun to look at as it is to hold and use. All of this pen goodness distracts you from the fact that you’re preparing for a chore. The INK glides. Your mind goes to a happy place. I’m pretty sure endorphins are released. This is a good thing.

Uni-Style Fit Multipen

The list is made. We head to the store. Time to get down to business.

As we pick up each item on the list, I color in the little checkbox with red or orange ink. Yes, I could just check the box. I suppose. But the completely filled in boxes appeal to me, AND I get to use yet another pen. This week it was my Uni Style Fit 3 Color Multi Pen outfitted with brown, green, and red 0.38mm gel refills…a super sweet and customizable pen that I’ll write about in more detail before too long. (Thomas Hall got me hooked on these. Thomas, Master Enabler.) The Uni Style Fit refill colors are strong, and the ultra-fine point is wickedly smooth. The colored boxes make it abundantly clear what we’ve loaded into our cart and what we’re still trying to track down. Plus it’s fun to color, even if it is just a little box.

If we have to hit more than one store, as we almost always have to do, I jot the alternative store name next to the item. You know, for fun.

Grocery shopping gear

Despite this post’s name, I don’t really find grocery shopping all that gross. Unless it’s on the Saturday of a holiday weekend. Then, ick. But it is a chore that will always be there, week after week. The trick is to make it as palatable and efficient as possible. Using my pens and favorite 3×5 cards, I’ve nailed down a system that works for me, while injecting some fun into the process.

Grocery shopping tools

Now to find those elusive cherries.

 

 

 

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A Micro Review: On The Fly with a Fisher Space Pen

Commencement Notes

At Hamilton College’s Commencement ceremony yesterday, the student speeches were clever, funny, and meaningful enough that I found myself wanting to take notes. I ushered at the event so I had virtually no belongings with me, except this Fisher Space pen and the Commencement program and my lap. Problem solved.

My handwriting is rushed, the paper was a stiff program cover, and the ink was just a simple medium point Fisher Space pen refill, but it all got the job done.

One student spoke about pineapples, and how we are like them. Prickly and weird on the outside, we need to find the right tools to get to the sweet delicious fruit inside. Hamilton College, he said, provided those tools. I loved the fact that he propped an actual pineapple on the podium as he spoke.

Another student said, in effect, that our lives are like Tetris and we should stop playing them like chess. Whereas chess is all about protecting and saving yourself, Tetris is about taking the random experiences that fall into our lives and looking at them from all different angles. We should be rotating those experiences, thinking about them, making them fit.

So my handwriting is sloppy, and the Fisher Space refill, though quite good, is not my favorite. But I had this pen in my pocket and, with it, I was able to capture these thoughts from a couple of creative and thoughtful young minds.

I made it work. Like Tetris.

Rainbow Fisher Space Pen

This particular Fisher Space pen was fully reviewed HERE.

Time is hard to find lately, so I’m planning to post more of these micro reviews—quick posts about pens in use in real life. You like?

The Write Tools

Write Notepad Pocket Notebooks

Back in November I sang the praises of the newly released pocket notebooks from Write Notepads & Co. I’ve been a fan of their products and aesthetic from the company’s infancy, when I first met Chris and Mark Rothe, and saw their spiral notebooks, at the 2013 DC Pen Show. The pocket notebooks are so good (durable binding, fountain pen friendly paper) that I’ve decided to let my Field Notes subscription lapse, in favor of a Write Notepads pocket notebook subscription. Field Notes are fun and cool, but I have plenty on hand (HUGE understatement) and feel like spreading my notebook wings. (Okay, there isn’t any such thing as “notebook wings,” but still.)

Lenore notebooks and pencils

Their first quarterly offering—  the Lenore pocket notebooks and pencils you see above— blew me away. As subscriber #16, I look forward to seeing what Chris dreams up for the next release. The bar has been set very high right out of the gate.

I’m so drawn to their notebooks and pencils when I’m browsing on their site, that I didn’t immediately notice the perfect little accessories that they offer alongside their notebooks. But once I saw the “made in the USA” Pocket Linear Measuring Device ($7.99) and Folding Pocket Scissors ($9.99), I had to order both.

Pocket Scissors and Measuring Device

The Pocket Linear Measuring Device is made about 40 miles from my house, in East Syracuse, NY, by Gaebel. It’s stainless steel, features a sliding pocket clip, and includes four units of measure—pica, inches, points, and metric. I’m a compulsive underliner (yet another quirk), and I like my underlines to be straight, so I use this tool every single day in my daily personal and work pocket notebooks, and even on the index cards where I compose my grocery lists. I keep this perfectly sized ruler in my Nock Co. Sinclair, so it’s always at hand.

Folding Pocket Scissors

Tucked inside a 3-3/4″ vinyl carrying case, the Pocket Folding Scissors measure just 3-1/4″ when completely folded. To deploy the surgical stainless steel blades, just pull the handles apart…

Folding Pocket Scissors

then press the handles down until they meet. Voila— sturdy and adorable scissors are at the ready.

Folding Pocket Scissors

Made and hand-assembled in Sweet Home, Oregon, these small but mighty scissors have become a favorite pocket carry. Once you start carrying scissors, you realize how often they come in handy. I receive and open a LOT of packages in my job, and while I use a box cutter to do the heavy cutting, these are the perfect tool to cut into the inner packaging. I’ve use them to clip coupons, to cut sign up forms out of the church bulletin, and to trim a pulled thread. They even made an appearance at a recent baby shower, where I lent them to the mother-to-be to snip a particularly stubborn ribbon on a gift. Carry scissors and save the day! Amaze people with your preparedness! Who wants to walk all over the house or office looking for the full-size (and often misplaced) scissors when you can have this cute little pair tucked away in your pocket?!

Write Notepads Accessories

The Pocket Linear Measuring Device and Folding Pocket Scissors, available from Write Notepads & Co., are quality, USA-made, everyday carry accessories. They are the Write tools.

All Write Notepad & Co. products shown and discussed in this review were purchased with my own funds. Chris did not twist my arm to write a review, and I haven’t been compensated in any way. I just love his products and can’t wait for the next pocket notebook subscription installment.