Keep Your Pens Warm and Secure this Winter

 Vox Luxury Wood Cases is offering its first-ever promotion special just in time for Valentine's Day. As many of you know here in the North East US, we've been enduring a bit of an icy cold spell cast by Old Man Winter. Vox Luxury aims to protect your pen and/or watch collection from the chill in luxurious fashion.

From today (Jan 25th until Feb 8th), Vox is offering two amazing deals on the most popular models of rosewood veneer cases. The 60 (whoa) Pen case, originally $799 retail price, is now $498.95.

This case has more than enough room for most pen collections. It has four removable drawers, beveled glass top and a locking device for the top level (for the VIP's - Very Important Pens). The non-marking interior ensures your pens are kept comfortable and blemish free during their time in storage.

For the watch collectors, Vox is giving you something much sweeter than a box of chocolates this Holiday. This Watch display case originally goes for $399 retail, now $258.95 with this special Valentine's promotion.

The 12 Watch Display Case has a beveled glass display top, lock and key and 12 pillows that should accommodate any watch dial.


Free Engraving Promo This Week - Your Questions Answered

Starting today, we're running one of our more popular promotions in preparation of Valentine's Day gifting.

We have free engraving on Goldspot.com for any pens, organizers and other items that can be engraved. Personalizing your pen or pen gift makes it an unique item, distinguished as a one-of-a-kind pen. Having your loved ones' name on a pen leaves a lasting impression and makes it harder for pen thieves to steal. Normally $9.50 per item, this free promotion extends for a maximum of 5 items per customer, per order during this promotion period, which ends January 31st, 2013.

For those who are interested in our engraving service and would be considering getting their next pen gift personalized, here are several of the most frequently asked questions :

What color will the engraving be in? Can it match the trim of the pen?

The color and the ability to match the trim varies on each pen, depending on the material. Most hard lacquer pens, like a Waterman Expert or Parker Sonnet lacquer can be engraved and matched with either a gold or silver color enamel. Pens with a metal finish are engraved and left with only the impression, since the material does not allow for enamel to adhere to the slick metal.

Is the engraving "stamped" on? Will it fade?

No. We use two different machines to engrave our products in-house. One is a laser engraver (for resins, acrylic, leather and other non-reflective materials) and the other is a diamond-pointed rotary engraver (for metallic finishes, sterling silver, gold, etc.) Both machines employ a subtractive method of engraving, which means material is taken out of the pen via laser or etching tool. The pen's material is cut into and leaves a permanent imprint on the pen.

What kind of fonts/styles can you engrave with? How do I select the style?

We have four basic fonts styles that we use with most engraved items. You can see sample font sets below:
To indicate your font preference, please include the font name in your "order comments" section of the order form. If no preference is indicated, the style is selected at our engraver's discretion. Certain items cannot be engraved with all styles and might be changed if the engraver determines the pen cannot be inscribed with the requested font choice.

Do you engrave other items besides pens?

Yes, we do engrave our Filofax leather organizers, leather pen cases / holders, and plates for Desk Sets.

Where does the engraving go on a pen?

In most cases, engraving is placed on the side of the cap, or top portion of the pen, running parallel to the clip. For an example, check the picture below.
Certain pens, like the Cross Century II and Aurora Ipsilon Sterling Silver, have a blank spot on the patterned metal surface that specifically exists to be engraved upon. Other pens, like a Caran d'Ache Ecridor, only has a small blank spot on the pen that would allow for initials only. Then, you have pens with such a busy pattern, like most ACME designer pens, that allow us only a small location on the pen to put an engraving.

Should I put periods after initials?

For monogramming and title initials (like MD or PhD), we would usually say no, because it is assumed that the uppercase letters are initials. In a case where you would put the person's first two initials and then last name (like A.J. Devanworth), we would recommend periods after the letters to differentiate initials from a full name.

If you have any additional questions, please post them below in our comments section and we will address them there. If you have a question specific to a particular pen, please contact us directly and we can have our engraver get in touch with you directly.


Diamine Apple Glory Ink Review

Apple Glory is among the new hues (debut in summer 2012) for renown British ink manufacturer Diamine. It matches nicely with the Lamy Safari Apple Green, which also hit the fine writing market around the same time last year. Bright, medium toned with sufficient saturation, Apple Glory is what I was looking for in a green that spreads Christmas cheer.

Diamine Apple Glory written with TWSBI 1.5mm Stub on InkJournal Paper

A Lamy Safari in Apple Green - 2012 Special Edition Color
The TWSBI Stub nib produces a significant amount of shading with this ink, especially when writing on Rhodia paper. The ink's consistency flows nicely (saw that before writing when it went all over the carpet...woops) and dries reasonably quick. Looking forward to trying this ink in a medium or a fine nib next. This may be an "evergreen" ink to use all year long. *Snicker*


Because Anything Less Than a MontBlanc Won't Do

Over at our sister site, RefillFinder.com, we pride ourselves in being able to offer compatible refills for all the most popular fine pens, including proprietary makers like Lamy, Parker, and Caran d'Ache, etc. Since the site was launched in 2010, we have offered Monteverde for MontBlanc refills that are compatible with the standard-size MontbBlanc ballpoint and rollerball. With a combination of volume discounting and a lower price point, MontBlanc pen owners could get a refill for their pen at about 40% less than buying a MontBlanc-brand refill.

But a lower price isn't enough for some MontBlanc owners.

One reason why is the MontBlanc LeGrand sized pen. The standard size rollerball does not fit the LeGrand. Our thoughts were, if you're going to have a website where people can find refills for their pens, you should probably have all of the popular favorites. We would get e-mails every week from customers looking for the LeGrand or ordering the standard size rollerballs, hoping it would fit. Since Monteverde has yet to produce a LeGrand version of the rollerball refill, we opted to expand our selection with the genuine article.

But it doesn't stop with the LeGrand, RefillFinder also carries MontBlanc bottled inks, fountain pen ink cartridges, document marker, fineliner and pencil leads. All refills are made in Germany and have the indicated "Sell By" dates to guarantee ink freshness. And who doesn't love fresh ink?


Pens for the Geek Inside All of Us

It's no secret - we love pen geeks.

The nerds of the written word, the nib dweebs and ink dorks - everyone with a passion for pens is welcomed with open arms. There are two geeks we are particularly fond of - Dan & Eric of FPGeeks fame. We've recently teamed up with the Geeks as one of their first sponsored advertisers on the website.

If you haven't seen or heard FPGeeks and love fountain pens, you've been missing out! FPGeeks has all the latest-breaking pen industry news, including announcements from major pen manufacturers about new pens, hotly anticipated pen designs, limited edition releases and so forth. They also have a fantastic, weekly video podcast that is both entertaining and has high production value. You can also check out the growing catalog of Awesome Reviews that go in-depth on pens that are widely talked about by writers and collectors. Besides all the great content Dan & Eric output, there's also a lively forum and an active community that you can join to talk about your writing obsessions with.

As part of our advertising campaign with FPGeeks, we've created a special welcome page for visitors that are coming from their site to ours for the first time. We've created the Pens for Pen Geeks Guide, which is a hand-picked selection of pens that were either reviewed or mentioned by the Geeks. Enjoy and let your geek flag fly.


Making Time to Write

Last week, we were discussing Writing Resolutions to start the new year. At this point in January, everyone is still bright-eyed, optimistic and hungry to follow through on their resolutions. But what happens when reality sets in? You know, when "life" gets in the way and torpedoes your efforts, forcing you to skip a day of journaling, not posting on your blog for a month, making no progress on the novel, etc. During any worthwhile venture, there's always going to be a setback or that threatens the survival of your goal. The biggest issue for most people will be the lack of time. But, we're here to talk about that and offer some tips on how to "make" time for writing.

While scientists somewhere are working on a way to warp back in time, we've all got to face the reality of the 24 hour day, of which we selfishly squander 8 hours (if you're lucky) laying unconscious. Writing takes time. The simple pleasure of putting pen to paper, journaling your thoughts and ideas, recapping your day or drafting the next section of your novel all take time. Depending on how fast you write / type, it can take quite a length of time. If you are looking to fit more writing into your schedule this year, chances are you didn't originally have a large block of time that you spent twiddling your fingers. We've all got a lot going on in life. Kids, job, social life, sports, entertainment, you name it. Here are some tips that I've found helpful in wedging time intensive activities in an already busy schedule.

Prioritize - Take an inventory of the time you spend on activities during the week. Catching up on Game of Thrones? Lower your usage of Netflix or the DVR to add quiet time for writing. Kids running wild around the house until late at night? Have a cup of coffee (or tea) an hour before they nod off so you can have energy to stay up and write. Work and commuting taking up most of the day? Take a bag lunch and write on your break or on the bus/train ride home. If this goal is important to you, prioritize it above other activities. Just make sure it doesn't trump basic necessities like sleeping, eating or going to work in the first place.

Make it a Habit - It usually takes 2 to 3 weeks to start a habit. Really work through the kinks that first month and your brain should be set on autopilot to the point that it will feel odd if/when you miss a day of writing. The beauty about writing is that it doesn't take a whole lot to accomplish the act - just a pen and paper will do in most occasions. Keep a small notebook around with you to catch ideas, capture inspiration or jot notes when you have downtime to further cement the writing mindset.

Accountability - Tell others about your resolution to write more. Tell them what you plan on doing with your writing. The more we make our intentions public, the more we feel obliged to stick with the plan. We're more apt to let ourselves down if it is only one person we are disappointing. If others are observing, we take it into consideration when times get tough and usually press onward. This is your safety net for when you feel like giving up. Having a friend that also likes to write or has a similar resolution would definitely help.

Make Smaller, Short-Term Goals - A whole novel is not going to be finished in one day. Depending on the scope of your writing resolution, it may take the whole year to complete. Break apart your goal in to smaller and smaller chunks until you are left with milestones that mark progress every few weeks or so. This will act as a flexible timeline to make sure you are on-target with your goal and not falling behind.


Writing Resolutions Giveaway Winner

Last week, we held our first giveaway of 2013 when we asked folks to write their "writing" resolutions for 2013. We received over a dozen responses and have picked one lucky winner for the Rhodia webnotebook and $10 Goldspot Gift Card. Thank you to everyone that took the time to write a response!

And the winner is :

Congrats, Maggie! Please send us an e-mail through our Goldspot Helpdesk with your address and preference of Rhodia webnotebook and we'll get it to you right away!

We'll be talking more about accomplishing your writing goals for 2013 this month. If anyone needs help getting their resolution off on the right foot, feel free to comment below.


Writing New Year Resolutions

2013 is going to be a big year.

When December comes to a close and you look back at all the goals accomplished and resolutions resolved, a wave of awesomeness will wash over you.

..And it all starts with a list.

"Resolutions," you may call them. I call them "goals." Saying to yourself, "I'm going to write more this year!" just doesn't cut it in my book. There needs to be a set objective that measures your efforts, thus creating a pass/fail point. One of my resolutions is going to be writing 8 posts per month for the Goldspot Blog (with this one counting as the first, yay!). They don't have to be long reviews or highfalutin diatribes about which fountain pen filling system is best (*piston*), but I do have to sit down, pen in-hand or laptop on lap, write and publish these posts on a regular basis now.

Writing should be a big part of many 2013 resolutions. Think of how many professions depend on quality written ideas : Copy-writing for sales & marketing, e-mail writing to clients, writing persuasive presentations, writing business plans, etc. Every time thoughts need to be transferred to words on paper (or screen), you want to put your best foot forward to appear smart, considerate and respectable for your intended audience. Hopefully, this would impress your boss enough to get you that raise!

So, what are your 2013 Writing Resolutions? Looking to complete the 1st draft of that book idea you've had for years? Write once a day in a journal? Practice your penmanship for an hour a week? We're looking for some great suggestions in the comments below to get others inspired to write this year. In fact, we're so jazzed up about this that we're holding a giveaway to encourage participation.

The Giveaway Prize:

A Rhodia Webnotebook! (your choice of lined, grid, plain or dot grid) + a $10 Goldspot Gift Card, good for any future purchase of fine pens and inks at Goldspot.com.

Giveaway Rules
  • Each person will be able to enter the contest by writing a comment below, sharing their 2013 Writing Resolution(s).
  • Contest is open to US residents only.
  • You will have until 11:50 AM Eastern on Tuesday, January 8th to complete your entry.
  • Winner will be selected by using the random nubmer generator at Random.org
  • Winner will be announced here on the site (nowhere else) on Tuesday, January 8th
  • Winner will have one week from the time of the announcement to claim their prize