These Are My People! The Mincing Mockingbird & The Frantic Meerkat

In the post about my trip to Chicago, I mentioned a journal that I did not buy. Remember this?

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Even though I DO NOT NEED IT, I began to regret passing it up. It’s just so perfect.

Soon after I published that post, reader “Lipgloss & Wellies” commented with a link to The Mincing Mockingbird , the creator of this exact journal. So I had to explore.

Yup, there it was, and at a better price than in the Art Institute’s gift shop. So I ordered two (“Two is one and one is none.”), another cleverly titled journal, and some ridiculously wonderful pencils.

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Truth be told, I could’ve spent my entire paycheck on their site.

Matt Adrian and Kim Bagwell are the married artists behind The Mincing Mockingbird & The Frantic Meerkat. As the “About” page on their site states, they’ve been “full-time purveyors of ridiculous, humorous and beautiful provisions since 2008.” Matt is the mockingbird and Kim is the meerkat.

These are my people. Or maybe I should say, these are my animals.

Anyone who comes up with the likes of the “Jittery Scribblings…” journal finds an instant place in my heart.

I also picked this up, to stash away for a gift…

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There are a slew of other oh-so perfect journal options on their site, along with cards, postcards, calendars, coasters, notepads, and mugs. Yeah, I kind of want it all.

Did you catch the imprints on the Troubled Birds pencils?

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“I’d sell you to Satan for one corn chip.” “I’m three ounces of whoop-ass.” Snarky. Hilarious. Smart. Had to have these.

Even the back of the box made me laugh out loud.

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Those uses? THE BEST. “Writing?” HAH!

There was a slight glitch with my order. One of my Jittery Scribblings journals arrived a little banged up from its travels.

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It wasn’t horrible, but I thought it best to let them know. So I dashed off an email with this picture and had a response within twenty minutes with an offer to replace the damaged journal. The replacement arrived a few days later in perfect condition. That’s exemplary customer service.

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Both journals I purchased come with dot-grid paper, but there are other styles available as lined or blank journals (e.g., “Mostly Just Whining” and “Creative Ramblings of a Restless Mind”). Each 5″x7″ journal contains 120 pages of 120 gsm paper that reportedly “takes ink beautifully.” So how does the paper perform? Honestly, I don’t know. I haven’t used mine yet. I also don’t care.

These are just too clever and funny to pass up. Well, too clever to pass up a second time.

I’m actually glad that I didn’t buy the journal in Chicago because then I wouldn’t have received that helpful comment from “Lipgloss & Wellies” leading me to The Mincing Mockingbird & The Frantic Meerkat website and their full array of products.

I’ve been poking around some more and and now I want this notepad and these postcards.

The world could surely use some humor and cleverness, and this site has giant helpings of both.

How could I not share?

Love,
Mary, your jittery introvert

You can see more of Matt’s artwork at www.mattadrian.com and view Kim’s paintings at www.kimbagwill.com.

Everything mentioned in this post was purchased with my own funds (with the exception of the replacement journal). I was not compensated for this review. Heck, they don’t even know about it. At the time of writing, I’m unable to locate a link for the “Jittery Scribblings…” journal on their site. Hopefully they’re just temporarily out of stock. I should’ve purchased ten. Or more.

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The Raspberry Honey Limited Edition Confidant by Baron Fig

What do you get when you combine this…

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with this…

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and this?

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The answer is THIS!

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Baron Fig’s latest Limited Edition Confidant, Raspberry Honey, is one sweet package. Packed inside a whimsically illustrated box (they had me right there), you’ll find the raspberry burgundy hued Confidant, along with an inspiring story that’s part fable, part fairy tale, written and illustrated by artist Geoff Gouveia.

I was immediately enchanted by the color, the artwork, and the tale of hope, friendship, and perseverance.

Oh, and the debossed cover.

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Yes, those are bees, which you may have guessed, figure heavily into this Confidant’s origin story.

What a cool detail.

Here’s where I make a confession. Well, two confessions, actually.

Confession #1: I own a few limited edition Confidants (Three-Legged Juggler, Work-Play, etc.) but have never written in one. They’re in my journal backlog, awaiting just the right purpose.

Confession #2: I couldn’t bring myself to write in this Raspberry Honey edition without having a plan. It’s too special to start marking up willy-nilly. (I’m aware that I have issues in this regard. Working on it.)

What to do, what to do?!

Then it dawned on me to do some writing samples in my standard edition Confidant (also unused) since the paper is the same as in this limited edition version.

So I tamped down my perfectionism and started trying out pencils…

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and liquid inks…

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and fountain pens…

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and a few gel inks and ballpoints.

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I was expecting some feathering or bleed-through with some of the wetter inks, but the performance of the paper thrilled me, and made me realize that I’ve got to start working through my Baron Fig stash. Perfectionism be damned.

The Raspberry Honey Confidant is the perfect place to record my own inspirational stories. A vow. I will do that.

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Ink testing in the original Confidant. Because I have issues.

I love the dot-grid pages and the lack of feathering with my widest (1.1 mm stub) nibs. I was even able to see a bit of sheen with the Robert Oster Fire & Ice ink in my Edison Pearlette. There was no show-through at all with the inks and nibs I used for testing.

This Raspberry Honey limited edition comes with the same set of features you’ve come to expect from other Baron Fig Confidants.

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Love the paper.

Love the cover.

Love the story.

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I’m completely and utterly charmed.

This Raspberry Honey Limited Edition Confidant is available directly from Baron Fig ($20.00 for one; You save a few bucks by buying two or three). The notebook reviewed here was sent to me, by Baron Fig, for review purposes. I was not otherwise compensated and there are no affiliate links in this post. This post reflects my personal experiences with this latest Baron Fig offering.

Chicago Souvenirs

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A couple of weeks ago, Fred and I took the Lakeshore Limited Amtrak train to Chicago for a few days of vacation. The train ride is a long one—about 13 hours going and 16 hours (because of delays) coming home. But it’s doable, and much cheaper than flying, so off we went.

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Once we got settled in at the Palmer House (excellent hotel!!), we walked to the Willis Tower and purchased City Pass booklets which save you money on a number of attractions and give you access to the “fast lane” for getting into the more crowded venues. In just three days, we stepped out into the dizzying Sky Deck at the Willis Tower…

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I’m not afraid of heights, but this was still a very weird sensation.

visited the Shedd Aquarium…

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spent hours in the Art Institute of Chicago…

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TILTED out over the city at the top of the John Hancock tower…

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and went to a White Sox vs. NY Yankees game.

Our hotel was close to Millennium Park so we spent time there taking in the gardens and the public art, like Cloud Gate (“the Bean”) and this “Faces of Chicago” water fountain installation.

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Water squirts out of this guy’s mouth every now and then. Mesmerizing.

We jammed a lot of stuff into three days and walked our heads off—about 10 miles per day. I actually lost weight on this vacation from all of the walking.

When I’m on vacation, I’m always on the lookout for souvenirs, but over the years that’s come to mean different things. With two dresser drawers stuffed with t-shirts, I really don’t need anymore, though it’s always tempting to add to that stash.

It will come as no surprise that I keep my eyes open for fun or interesting stationery-related items. Even though I have a whopping supply of pens, pencils, journals, ink, and paper at home, picking up a few new items while I’m in a different place feels okay. Why? Because these are things that you use and use up. So I did a little shopping.

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Decent souvenir pencils were surprisingly hard to come by, but I finally found these in the gift shop at the top of the John Hancock Tower. They feature the name of the city, a Chicago-style hotdog, a tour boat ride, skyscrapers and Michigan Avenue in fun graphics and eye-catching colors. I picked up four for $2.00. (Otherwise, they were $0.99 each.)

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Dick Blick was just a stone’s throw from our hotel so I had to explore ALL OF THE ART SUPPLIES there, even though I’m nothing more than a wannabe artist. Though I was tempted by so much—Rhodia and Leuchtturm notebooks, gel pens galore, colored pencils, notecards, and novelties, I purchased just a few simple items. These Cretacolor Monolith Woodless Graphite pencils were a “must buy.” I resisted the urge to buy the full-range of lead grades and picked up the two that I’m most likely to use for plain old writing and maybe a little sketching (still trying to get over my art fear). They feel really cool in hand and write beautifully. I also picked up an M+R brass bullet pencil sharpener, perfect for pocket carry. For under ten bucks, I came away with some interesting goodies that I’ll definitely use.

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I’ve visited the Mont Blanc Boutique on Michigan Avenue in the past—to gawk at and handle the Limited Edition Jonathan Swift and Alfred Hitchcock fountain pens. This time I was on an ink quest. We walked block after city block to the Michigan Avenue location (with Fred mincing along in pain as his plantar fasciitis decided to flare up). I always feel like a sweaty under-dressed mess when I walk into the store, but despite this, have always been treated graciously by the salespeople. I took a quick glance at a few pens, but left with only the ink that I came for—Montblanc UNICEF 2017 Turquoise ink (50 mL, $39).

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Are there are other turquoise inks that cost less? Of course. But it’s a color I enjoy and since I rarely get the chance to visit a Montblanc boutique, I decided to splurge a little.

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Is this not perfect? (Art Institute of Chicago gift shop)

And then there’s the souvenir that I did not buy, though it tugged at my heart ever so strongly. God, I was tempted. It’s SO ME. But it was about $20 and I DO NOT NEED another journal (Fred kept reminding me of this) so I walked away. That was tough, and I may still try to track it down online. I probably should’ve just bought it. Ah, regrets.

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So this is my little haul of Chicago souvenirs. All usable. All carefully selected. All easy to pack and transport.

And of course I kept the Palmer House disposable pen from our room.

You’d do the same, right?!

 

 

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