Baron Fig Limited Edition Squire: The Editor

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It’s not very often that I am blessed with a limited edition product that resonates so deeply with me, but I think I have finally found one that has— the latest Baron Fig limited edition Squire. When I first heard that it was called The Editor I didn’t even have to know what it looked like— I just knew that I needed it. My job is exactly that— I work in a college writing center and edit student papers. Recently, I have been looking for the “perfect” pen for marking up student papers and here comes the Editor. The pen is great as it performs like all other Squires, but it is the theme that really makes this pen stand out. The pen is a nice deep red color. As my stationery pal Less put it, “it’s like a dried blood color and the ink is a nice contrast of a fresh blood color.” Less is right— the ink refill is the PERFECT color red for editing. Aside from the great ink, the aesthetic of the pen is great.

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Engraved in a crisp, bright white on the barrel of the pen are the different symbols used by editors. The tube the pen comes in has a key for those not familiar with what all the symbols mean— I even learned about some stuff I was unaware of myself. I really like this pen as it fulfills two purposes: first, the joy of a limited edition and two, it has actual utility by reminding the user of editing markup language. It makes me think of those multiplication table pencils I used in grade school. I’d say out of all the limited edition pens Baron Fig have released in the past few years, this is easily in my top 3 (the Experiment and the Mysterium are the other two). I’d jump on this one quick because it’s a limited edition that plays right into a lot of what members of the stationery community are involved in: teaching, writing, editing, academia, or really any other venture that involves words. You can find the Editor here for $60 US (and save $10!) while they last!

***I was provided this pen free of charge for the purposes of a review. Free stuff in no way influences how I review or feel about a product. That would be gross.***

Baron Fig Gather Review Journal

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The Baron Fig Gather Review Journal is one in a series of guided journals Baron Fig has released over the past year. These journals are great for going deep on your daily routine, documenting recipes, developing good habits, and now, reviewing your favorite things or activities. When I got the email to ask if I wanted a review copy, I hesitated as I figured how could I ever use a journal like this? I don’t really consume much popular media and I’m not one to really care or reflect on what I do consume. Well, I’ve had this journal for a little over a week now and it has brought much intentionality to my life and the way I look at certain things. The first thing that surprised me was what I wound up using this journal for. After writing up a review for a book I finished reading, it dawned on me— I could use this journal to review items for this blog! This is such a great idea as it helps me jot my down my thoughts on the fly and also scratches that analog itch I seem to always have. When it comes to blogging, perhaps it’s the bridge between digital and analog. Anyhow, I really enjoy the format as it’s short-form and encourages you to be deliberate with your words.

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Aesthetically speaking, the Gather has a nice olive green cover with the 15 different logos that are used for the different review categories embossed on the front of the book. Each page is laid out in a very simplistic manner: there is a spot to log the item you are reviewing, about half a page to write your thoughts, and then at the bottom there is a 5-star rating system and underneath that space for your high points and your low points. On the side of the page are little square icons of each of the 15 categories one could use to signify what they are reviewing. Some of the categories are: video games, music, books, food, place, product, art, etc. At the back of the journal there is a journaling guide like the Grow Daily Journal has. The guide gives you a brief description of each genre and its components. I didn’t think I would find this part of the book interesting, but it was actually really helpful to peruse to get some ideas generated.

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The final part of this review is on whether or not you should buy one. Short answer: it depends. If you consume a lot of media, travel, or eat out a lot, this may be beneficial to you. The journal will be especially beneficial if you practice any kind of mindfulness exercise or spend time deep in thought analyzing your interests. If none of this sounds like you, I would pass on this for sure. Overall, I think it is still a worthwhile purchase because unless you find yourself reviewing things a lot, this will probably be a one-time purchase. At $24, the Gather is not a bad deal at all. You can find the Gather over at Baron Fig along with their other guided journals.

Baron Fig Grow Daily Journal

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For those of you that know me or listen to me on the RSVP podcast, you know that I have trouble remaining consistent when it comes to keeping a journal in any form. I am not sure why I am this way— I tend to get bored easily or have trouble staying motivated. When I saw the Grow Journal from Baron Fig, I almost passed on reviewing it since I figured that it would be another book I’d never fill or utilize to its full potential. After checking out the product page, I realized that for once, a product may work for me. Let me explain why:

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First off, the Grow Journal provides eight different options when it comes to journaling. I like having this choice. The way I have been journaling is with a blank page— one page per day written in paragraph form. This format works well when I am inspired and motivated, but when I really need to journal, like when I’m depressed or anxious, it’s overwhelming. With the Grow, I can choose what works best for me on any given day. Each page has a column on the edge of the page with the eight different ways to journal: record, reflection, gratitude, wins, lessons, musings, check-in, and freestyle. At the back of the book these categories are fully explained. Record is defined as just writing down what happened during any given day— it’s a way to keep a personal history of what has been going on. Reflection is writing down what happened in a day and then reflecting upon those events. Gratitude, wins, and lessons are pretty self-explanatory. Musings is defined as something more abstract and it is where you just write what is on your mind with no judgement. Check-in is data-based and is for stuff like keeping a log of tracked goals: moods, exercise log, and really any other progress tracking. Freestyle is just that— free. Write whatever you want in any way you want. In the back of the journal there is also a six-week starter guide that gives you a sort of road map to getting into the habit of keeping a journal.

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In addition to the sidebar of journaling options, there is a section on the bottom of the page for metadata. You can track the date/time, the weather, and your mood. I never thought these things were important, but it has really helped me notice patterns in my mood (like when it is raining I tend to have a worse mood than when it is sunny). At the top of the page there is an option for an entry title— I’m not sure I will use this much as I don’t really have the desired to title my journal entries. Also, in addition to the lined page, each line at the beginning has 3 dots and I’m not totally sure what they could be used for. Perhaps a template to draw boxes for checklists? A way to incorporate bullet journaling? The demo photo on the website shows the user making bullet lists, so maybe that? I’m not sure, but either way it’s a nice touch. The look of the Grow Journal has grown on me. I definitely like the touch of yellow on the elastic band that holds the journal closed and the matching yellow on the inside covers. The journal cover and bookmark are charcoal colored which really makes the yellow pop. On the cover, the iconography of a seed transforming into a plant/tree is a nice touch as well.

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There are 170ish usable pages, so for a year of daily use, you would need two of these. Or, if you are like me, one would suffice. I really recommend this journal. I have enjoyed using it for the past week and I am so much more motivated to keep up with it because I have so many choices. It really gives me something to look forward to. The price is $24 and they are available now a the Baron Fig website.

**I was provide this journal free of charge from Baron Fig. Free stuff does not influence my opinion of any product whatsoever. The would be wrong and gross of me**

Baron Fig Archer: Oracle Limited Edition

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Perhaps one of the most used toys of my childhood was my beloved Magic 8 Ball. I shook that thing to get the answers to the most pressing questions of a pre-teen’s life: Does that girl that sits behind me like me? Will we have a snow day tomorrow? Should I ask her out? While this grapefruit-sized ball with a icosahedron inside could not have had the prescience to predict my life, it was amusing and fun. As an adult, life has a lot less of those urgent questions nor is carrying around a Magic 8 Ball is practical. Enter the Oracle pencil by Baron Fig. Designed to provide a bit of fun to break up the monotony of our days, the Oracle provides six possible answers to our pressing questions: Will I get a promotion? Should I call out of work tomorrow? Should I get out of *bed* tomorrow? A simple roll across the desk will decide your fate if you so desire. Aesthetically, these pencils don’t do it for me. I might be an anomaly though-- I love everything neon and bright-- this color palette is quite muted. I have previously given Baron Fig shit for not being colorful enough and in the beginning, I even dared to call them “bro-ish” with their choices. They have delivered color since then, and I’m grateful for that, but these pencils match their original color choice style. I’d like to emphasize: there is nothing wrong with that! Just not my jam. The iconography on the other hand is pretty cool. I like the incorporation of a crystal ball intermixed with the different suits of cards. It really drives home the whole Oracle theme as I imagine sitting at a table across from a fortune teller with a crystal ball and a spread of cards. The design on the packaging is even better as it is a much more intricate version of what is depicted on the pencils. I’d love to see this design on a limited edition Vanguard or Confidant.

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Performance wise, these are right on par with other pencil offerings. If you have used a Viarco, you have used a Baron Fig Archer. While not confirmed, I’d bet my last 211 on the fact that Baron Fig uses Viarco for all their custom pencil needs. I will say that there is a slight difference when it comes to grittiness— other Archers suffered from this problem. So much so that I really didn’t care to write with them, but this iteration is free of that sandiness. You will still experience that scratchy feeling when writing. I don’t think it is necessarily the graphite that is scratchy, I think it is the feedback this very lightweight pencils provides its user. I am a fan of a heavier hand feel when writing, so it’s not my thing, but others will probably not even notice. All of that aside, you really cannot go wrong picking up these pencils. At $15 for a dozen of limited edition pencils, it’s worth it. Especially so since you can predict your future! Pick them up on Baron Fig’s website while they last!

*** I was provided these pencils free of charge for review purposes. Free items in no way influence my view of a product and my opinions are mine and mine alone***

Baron Fig Vanguard Dateless Planner Set

I'm not a planner person. I mean I try as hard as I can to keep up with writing everything down, but I often forget to keep up or don't want to carry around a planner book. These pocket planners from Baron Fig might be the solution to my flakiness when it comes to keeping up with planners. At first glance, I am immediately drawn to the bright colors of these books and the super clean graphic design. I am a sucker for both, so picking these up is not a task for me. Each book has a 16-week dateless spread and in the back there is a two-page spread for lists or undated info and then a few pages of dot grid for jotting down notes. I really like the flexibility of these planners.

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They can be used for almost anything-- daily task lists, planning, or even short form journaling. There are four books in this set-- one for each season and they are priced at $14 a pack which is beyond reasonable. I am not sure if they will be a regular offering from Baron Fig (they should be!), but I'd pick up a few sets of these. The possibilities are endless. 

Baron Fig Archer Elements: A Conversation with Caroline Weaver

It's time again for an Archer release from Baron Fig and this time we are graced with the presence of Elements. This design is a collaboration between Caroline Weaver and Baron Fig. Quite frankly I was waiting for this to happen and while the design is great, there are a few misses. In addition to my review, I sat down with Caroline to discuss a few things. Let's get to that first:

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Me: What made you want to collaborate with Baron Fig?

Caroline: BF actually approached me about doing a pencil! I've known Joey and Adam since I first opened the shop since they're also in NYC and I love the products that they make. When they asked me to do a pencil with them I didn't think twice about it. 

Me: Tell me a little bit about that process (designing, how much input you had, etc.)

Caroline: I worked through the concept with Baron Fig, they designed it and I approved it--it was all very easy because they did a great job capturing what I was going for. A big part of what I do in my job is educate people about pencils, so I thought this was a good opportunity to throw a little lesson into the actual design of the pencil. It was all collaborative, but I'm grateful that they trusted my opinion and my ideas. I can't really take any credit for the actual design--that's all them!

Me: What would be your dream pencil? Graphite, wood, finish, ferrule, eraser choices?

Caroline: Oh man! I don't even know. For years I was saying it was a double ended graphite/red pencil but then we made the Editor, so that exists now. BUT if I could really have anything, it would probably be Try-Rex shaped, with a good cedar barrel, the core of Mono 100 in F, an elaborate early 1900s-esque brass ferrule, a Matomaru-Kun eraser on the end and vertical stripes in burgundy and a nice red-orange. 

Me: Are there any other CW collaborations in the works?

Caroline: Yes! Before the end of the year we'll release 3 more new products that we've been working on making with three different brands. 

I want to thank Caroline for her time and willingness to participate. Also-- it's super exciting to know that there are not one, not two, but THREE CW collaborations coming soon! Now let's get to the meat and potatoes-- the review.

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As a fan of bright colors, I wasn't wowed by the Elements Archer at first. That's my own subjective bias, so it's not a fault with the pencil, but muted colors are not for me. What I DID love were the symbols for each element of what goes into your average pencil. What was weird though is one of those symbols is for foil and this pencil has none. I get why that was used-- most pencils have foil imprinting, but this one doesn't and to the uninitiated pencil fanatic, they might be left feeling confused. One final aesthetic observation was the consistency of the finish on the pencils. This is not a problem with Baron Fig, but more of a problem with Viarco's quality control. When evenly lined up, some pencils either had a "wavy" transition between two colors or were dipped higher or lower (see picture below). I feel like I'm being a bit nitpicky here, but it's not fair to Baron Fig for Viarco to have so many issues with delivering a perfect product. 

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The way the Elements pencil writes is consistent with the other limited edition Archers I have reviewed in the past. The graphite is a bit harder than I like, but it seems to me like this batch has less imperfections re: grittiness than other Archers I have used. I sharpened up three different pencils and they all performed the same. I will say that a toothier paper is better to use with these pencils since the harder graphite feels as though it is "biting" into smoother paper at times. With all of this being said, I still like the Element. I'm a big fan of minimalist design and while the color scheme is not my cup of tea, the muted pink and slate gray work well together. Also, the iconography is brilliant and really like how it tells the complete story of how a pencil is constructed. One thing Baron Fig really has going for them is design and I have yet to encounter a product that is way off the mark from them (Okay, the mousepad was bit off there. Haha). You can pick them up here while they last!

***I received these pencils free of charge in exchange for a review. My opinions are mine and have not been influenced at all by free stuff.***

Baron Fig Limited Edition Squire: Mysterium

This isn't my first rodeo reviewing a Baron Fig Limited Edition Squire, but it is my first time reviewing one that is just so damn amazing. This iteration of the LE Squire, Mysterium, is all about science and space. Specifically, what is out there? What have we yet to discover in the great expanse that is outer space? Baron Fig has been known for its creativity and thinking outside of the box approach with most of its limited editions, but this one is extra special as one of my stationery pals, author, blogger, and podcaster, Harry Marks, wrote a short story that accompanies the pen. Marks' writing is exquisite and I haven't been moved by a short story like that in so long. I am left wanting more-- it's fiction that speaks truths. If you don't buy the pen, read the story at least. 

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So the pen: it's beautiful! It has a nice warm, orange color that almost seems to give off a glow when the light hits it just right. Etched into the barrel near the top is a 20-sided icosahedron (for nerds, that's a d20). I know that this edition was more of a nod towards science and space, but man does it work for us RPG nerds out there. Again, Baron Fig hits it out of the park with this edition. I'd pick up one before they sell out-- which will probably be soon since there are SO MANY of us nerds out there. One thing I recommend with this pen is the leather pen sheath. While the twisting mechanism is great, it has often engaged while in my pocket which led to disastrous results. 

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**Baron Fig provided this pen free of charge in exchange for a review. My opinions are my own and in now way influenced by free stuff.**

Baron Fig Computerworld Vanguard

It's not often I audibly gasp when I get an email from Baron Fig about their latest offering. Never have I thought that a notebook could embody all of the things I love in this world. Bright colors, whimsical artwork reminiscent of the early nineties, and geek culture. Computerworld offers all of these things and much more. First, let's talk about the concept itself. Computerworld is a Baron Fig collaboration with Codeacademy, a company that offers a unique, online technical learning experience for those that want to learn to code. The Computerworld Vanguards are designed with the coder in mind-- pages are "code ruled" and have numbered rules and bullets which are perfect for writing lines of code or lists. The first thing that came to mind when I flipped through the pages was that these could serve as a good framework for a bullet journal. 

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Each notebook in the collection in the series has a different cover design and the artwork is an imagined representation of what the three main parts of technology-- hardware, software, and data-- would look like. Baron Fig always goes all in on theme and design, so this Vanguard edition is seeping with subtle references to technology. The box for this set is also great with a cover that shows all three themes weaved together. There is a really cool sticker sheet that comes in the box as well as a pamphlet that talks a bit about the current theme.

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The more I stare at the different covers of the books, the more I see. I guess that's what I like so much about this edition aside from it's unique inside page design-- the covers make me happy. One can escape into a fantastical world of technology where unicorns abound, and really, what's better than that? 

***I was provided these notebooks free of charge from Baron Fig, but this review was in no way influenced by the generous offering of a review copy. My opinions are my own***

Baron Fig Squire Click

I feel like it has been an eternity since I have posted a review (actually it has, my last post was in January). As some of you know, I've been working on a thesis and a jam-packed semester, so that is the reason I have been away. I have good news though: I passed my thesis, I am graduating with a Bachelors in psychology, and the best news is that I can focus on this blog again!!  I have had quite a few things I've wanted to blog about, so expect weekly releases for a while. First on my review list is the new Baron Fig Squire Click pen. Full disclosure: I received a pen free of charge from Baron Fig, but it in no way influenced my review or opinion of the pen.

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Okay. So as a "mostly pencil user" pens aren't really my thing. When I write in my journal I use a pen and have been using the Baron Fig "Key" Squire (which is now sold out). I love that pen and am surprised that I do since it is so damn heavy (it's brass). On the entire opposite side of the spectrum re: weight, is the Squire Click. At a mere  .7 ounces, the Squire Click feels great in hand and lessens the fatigue I usually feel with heavier pens. I also like the brushed aluminum finish of the pen-- it offers the right amount of grip, without being intrusive. Baron Fig touts four main "features" of the Squire click: it has a click top, it's ultra minimal, it has a versatile size, and it's made to last. I am going to address these four selling points and base my overall review on this framework. 

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Click Top: sure, the Squire Click has a click top that Baron Fig states is an "easy to use click top with a smooth motion and satisfying feel." I agree on the "easy to use" part, but to me it does not feel smooth or satisfying. First, the pen does not offer a satisfying "click" when engaging the mechanism. On top of that, it makes this scrape-like sound when pushing down the click mechanism. There is nothing wrong with the quality of the pen in this regard, but subjectively speaking, I don't like the feel of how this pen clicks. Most of us buy pens for their function and performance on paper, so this is not a deal-breaker for me. And hey, maybe my idea of satisfaction is different than yours, so there's that.

Ultra Minimal: Baron Fig nailed in on this point. Unlike other pens where there is a lot "going on" the Squire Click gets out of its own way and is sleek and simple. I would have liked to see a very small, minimalist clip, but I can always add one on myself via Tofty Design.

Versatile Size: again, kudos to Baron Fig on this one. Many, many times when I am using a pen it is either too long or too short for my liking. This is the Goldilocks of the pens I have-- it's just right. Also, the diameter of the pen is great for my small hands. It's sort of pencil-sized and I feel like I have better control while writing with the Squire Click.

Made to Last: I can't really comment on this yet since I have only had the pen for about a month. If it is in line with other Baron Fig products, I don't suspect that this statement is false.  Their regular Squires have held up beautifully and have resisted many drops and other rough treatment. 

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Overall, if you are a pen user, the Squire Click is a purchase. The major selling point for me was the design. Its barrel is perfect for my smaller hands and the smooth, yet not too slippery feel of the barrel works well. The fig wine color I have is beautiful and goes well with my other Baron Fig products. To make this the perfect pen, I'd recommend getting a plastic clip from Tofty Design as metal would probably scrape the barrel. Thanks to the crew over at Baron Fig for providing a Squire Click for review. Again, free stuff does not influence my review whatsoever. 

Baron Fig Lock and Key Limited Edition

As a stationery blogger, I see a lot of products on a weekly and even daily basis. Very few stop me in my tracks from just the pictures I get in press releases, but Baron Fig's newest offering took my breath away. This edition of the new Confidant and Squire is perhaps Baron Fig's most thoughtful limited edition offering. The theme is so simple yet perfectly executed. The Confidant is "the lock" and the Squire is "the key." Along with the notebook there is a small pamphlet with a maze and a small poem that suggests that there is a puzzle to be solved. The Squire's cardboard tube acts as a key to decode the symbols that are printed on the maze and inside the covers of the Confidant. Again-- amazing attention to detail here. I like that a little fun was added to this edition. As far as how both the pen and notebook perform, they are both the quality to be expected of Baron Fig. I will go through each separately:

Squire

I was in love with the beauty of this brass pen, but was unsure of how I would feel about its weight. Upon weighing the Key Squire and a regular Squire, the Key weighed just over two times the weight of the regular. What's equally exciting about the brass Squire is the amazing patina that it will develop. The brass pen also pairs amazingly with the dark green Confidant and the pen's performance on the paper is great as always. 

Confidant

The Lock Confidant is perhaps one of my favorite Baron Fig offerings to date. I really love the embossed maze and key on the front of it-- it really makes me think I am locking away all of my thoughts and dreams into this book. Speaking of which, I have started to use this Confidant as a journal and have been thoroughly enjoying the theme. The inside front cover is a bright white with a maze design. Interspersed are various symbols that need decoding. The paper inside is dot grid and is consistent with the paper in all of the other Confidants-- slightly toothy and perfect for the Squire. The only thing I don't like is the slight amount of ghosting that happens when writing on the page. Not sure if that will ever be fixed, but it's not a deal-breaker for me. I just wish their own pen wasn't doing the ghosting. 

Overall, I think if you were ever on the fence about picking up a limited edition pairing, this is the one the pull the trigger on. The theme is there, the quality is there, and the brass Squire makes it so worth it. Head over to Baron Fig soon because I feel as though these will sell out quickly. 

**I received this set free from Baron Fig, but these opinions are my own and have in no way been influenced by free stuff.**