Saturday, February 9, 2013

Notebook Review: Write-Now by Poppin

I received this red medium Poppin Write-Now notebook when the brand has just been launched. That's a shameful two years ago. I read about a notebook giveaway and I signed up to receive a sample to review here. Meredith Zenkel, Poppin's Director of Public Relations, sent the notebook to my friend in the US who then sent it to me here in the Philippines.

As a fountain pen user, there are two types of notebooks (or should I say paper?) for me: fountain pen friendly notebooks, and the not-so-fountain-pen-friendly ones. When I received the Write-Now notebook, I fell in love with its red soft cover, but cringed when I saw that ink bled profusely to the next page when I wrote. But I still kept it and made plans to write a review but I never wrote one. Shame on me.

Last month, while I was sick at home, I re-organized my notebooks and came upon the Poppin beauty still wrapped in its original plastic. I took it out and tried some of my inked pens on a page. I felt bad that again, there were the same nasty bleed and ugly feathering I saw before. But... When I tried my Parker 45 inked with Pelikan Blue Black, I was dumbfounded. I noticed that it did not feather on Poppin's paper. And... it did not bleed!!! Hurray! I can now use my Poppin notebook!

Apart from the not-so-fountain-pen-friendly Poppin paper, there's a lot to love with this medium Write-Now notebook. It measures 5 x 8.25 inches, and has a lovely, bright, happy red cover with Poppin's logo etched in the lower right corner.

The gray elastic closure is a happy contrast to the brightness of the cover. It's not too tight to cramp the notebook with its soft cover, but fits just right to hold the pages together. The gray elastic closure of Poppin's red notebooks has been changed to red now.

The Write-Now notebooks are thread-bound for flexibility and durability. Thread-binding ensures that the pages will not simply fall off. Below photo shows the signatures of this notebook bound together, and its gray ribbon bookmark.

One more feature to love with the Write-Now notebook is its round corners. Generally, I prefer notebooks with round corners because they are easier to handle. No sharp corner pokes or scratches, and no page corner curls. I understand that not all notebooks are created equal with round corners, so I bought a round corner cutter for notebooks with sharp, pointed corners.

Like most of my bound notebooks, the Write-Now has a back pocket to hold receipts, notes, cards, etc. But I have never used notebook back pockets for such purposes because once I fill the pocket with bits of paper, it starts to bulge, and the uncomfortable bump gets in the way of my writing. This is a useful feature, I just don't like using it.

Because of its binding method, this notebook lies flat when it is open. It has 192 pages of ruled acid and lignin free ivory-colored paper. But unlike most ruled notebooks, the inside pages of Write-Now are printed with boxes on the upper part of the page, and vertical lines in either outer left and right sides. These features make the Write-Now a very useful tool in record keeping.

As mentioned earlier in this review, I ran an initial pen and ink test on this notebook when I received it, but perhaps due to its thin paper, almost all of the ink I tested feathered...

...and bled. Two ink types did not feather then, but the rest bled heavily. I understand that this notebook wasn't even made for fountain pens, and that there are people who use rollerballs, ballpoints, or pencils and  find it perfect. But I use fountain pens for everyday writing, so when a notebook comes to me for review, my tests are done using my ink tanks.


There is a way I could use Poppin's notebooks! I need only to find the right pen and ink combination as I did when I tested my Pelikan BB-filled Parker 45. I know I can also use the old iron gall Lamy Blue Black on this notebook but I try to avoid that ink because of its corrosive properties.

Pelikan Blue Black behaved well in Poppin paper, with only a tiny bit of almost unnoticeable feathering. The ink also dried fast on this notebook's paper and that's good to know because ink dry time affects my writing speed. I know I wouldn't need to wait for an entire page to dry before I could proceed.

Pelikan BB did not feather on this notebook's paper and did not bleed, too. There is show-through, and the tiny dots visible on this side of the paper are due to my heavy handwriting. But whatever, this is happy enough for me because I know that there exists a pen/nib-ink combination that is nearly perfect for this notebook, and perhaps for my other not-so-fountain-pen-friendly notebooks as well.

As I said, there's a lot to love with this notebook. It has a lovely, bright, happy red cover; round corners; thread-bound; nice elastic closure; and an almost fountain pen-friendly paper. I'm happier with my Poppin notebook now! Thanks Meredith! (And sorry for the late review.)


Poppin is a great company with an amazing tagline: work happy. They offer personalized school and office products (notebooks and iPad sleeves), lots of items for organization (storage boxes, folios, binders, inboxes, trays), furniture (chairs, desks, cabinets), and tons of pen and paper combinations! They also promote shopping by color for a heavenly color fix, and offers a design-a-desk contest, a fun play to dress up your own desk. They say they are a small company with big dreams, and they're here to give us products that will make work happy. Amen to that.

We can like Poppin in Facebook (, follow in Twitter ( and check their weekly pins at Pinterest (

The Write-Now notebook used in this review is through the kindness of Poppin. The red Parker 45 and all the inks used to test the notebook are from my personal collection.


  1. Nice notebook. I have never seen that brand in the U.S. I also have a notebook that works fine with one pen/ink combination, but it is not friendly to any other pen or ink.

    1. Hi Bill! I have a couple of notebooks that are ok with just one pen-ink combination. I'm not sure if Poppin has a store aside from their online one. Visit their website and you'll be in colorific heaven! :)

  2. It is a shame about the ink bleed as the notebook looks really good.