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  • Van Hoang

18 Totally Unnecessary but Lovely Things Your Writer Friend Might Want

I have a secret to share and that is this: I HAVE A LOT OF USELESS THINGS. Pretty things. But mostly useless. Okay fine, pretty has its uses too. I get a lot of questions about where to find the things I have, and the truth is I shop a lot. Mostly it's for myself, but sometimes if I find something I know a friend will really like, I'll buy two, one for each of us. If I wrote as much as I shopped, I'd just as broke as I am now, let's be real.

I shop when I'm happy, but even more when I'm sad, I shop when I'm sober, I shop when I'm drunk, I shop in my sleep, I can buy things in a house, I can buy things with a mouse, I can buy things in a box, I can buy things with a fox. I love foxes.

Anyway, I can go on and on about shopping, but here are some things I've bought recently that other writers and people keep asking me about (and by "people" I mean that one cashier I talk to every week when I go buy lunch). [These are not affiliate links--I just like things because ♪ I ♫ am ♪ a ♫ material ♫ girl ♪ .]

Glass Dip Pen ($10)

Full disclosure, I'm a huge fountain pen hoarder and outdated-antique-ancient-writing-tools nerd, but this pen is beautiful and lovely to write with. It's smooth and holds a good amount of ink in the nib so that you're not constantly refilling. I also love that I can use some of my favorite glittery inks without the nib clogging up like normal fountain pens often do. It's also easy to clean--you just rinse the ink off after each use.

Head on over to my Instagram to see a video of me using this pen for the first time, and the magic that is the ink flowing onto the paper.

JinHao x750 Fountain Pen ($10)

This is a good starter fountain pen and is amazing given the price point. I own about ten of these in different colors, one for every occasion, filled with all my favorite inks. They even come with a standard piston converter, which is much easier to use (and saves a lot of money and plastic for those cartridge-users!).


Diamine Moon Dust

PILOT Iroshizuku, Kiri-Same, Scotch Mist (Warm Gray)

Noodler's Apache Sunset

Noodler's Blue Ghost Invisible Ink (for writing secrets to all your friendsssss)

I can go on and on about inks but let's move on.

Baron Fig Confidant Journal ($18)

This is one of my favorite journals ever. The paper is especially nice for fountain pen ink, the dot grids are not intrusive and a nice space apart, and the pages lay flat. The hardcover is incredibly sturdy, coming from someone who does not take the best care of her things.

Baron Fig Squire Rollerball Pen ($55)

Yes this is super expensive for a ballpoint pen but in my defense, I didn't buy this for myself. It was a gift from a friend and it is one of the best pens I've ever written with (and I don't even like rollerballs that much). It is heavy but with a nice weight, and the ink is smooth and bold, and it's just beautiful to look at. The Baron Fig brand ink refills are kind of pricey ($12/each), but it is compatible with a standard Schmidt P8126 refill which is the same price for 4. *shrugs*

Incredibly Small and Portable Anker Bluetooth Keyboard ($18)

I don't write by hand all the time but one of the reasons that I like to is that I can carry and bust out a notebook and pen anywhere I go. That's why I got one of these bluetooth keyboards, which fits perfectly in a medium-sized purse and is compatible with my phone. It's incredibly convenient, and this one is now chargeable whereas the one I currently have uses triple-A batteries.

Multi-Angle Book Pillow ($30)

This is marketed as an iPad/tablet-holder but I really bought it because I'm too lazy to hold up my book when I'm in bed. There are three different angles which is cool, and the fabric is a velvety texture that sometimes clings to your book and keeps it in place. It's also great for tablets and e-readers, especially if you're a lying-in-bed-side-reader like me and your one hand has developed carpal tunnel from holding your kindle at a certain angle. The cover also unzips so you can wash it if you're a germaphobe like me.

Multi-Angle Ventilated Adjustable Stand ($19)

Along the same lines, I also have one of these ventilated stands that are technically for a lightbox or laptop, but I use it more as a bookstand for my notebook. I tend to get mad vertigo if I look down for too long, which is a problem considering that I like to write by hand, and this stand helps me to maintain better posture and not have to bend my neck so much. It is sturdy enough that I can write and put some weight on it without it moving or collapsing, and it can literally be used for anything--books, tablets, laptop, etc.

Laptop Tray Table ($18)

This laptop tray table is from Amazon, but I bought another very similar one from Marshall's, and it has saved my neck so many times, literally. Like I said, I get vertigo when I bend over a table for too long, and if I prop this up on my dresser or desk, I can create a pretty cheap and easy standing desk for myself. It also folds and stores away pretty neatly. This is another version ($37) that is more versatile with adjustable angles.

Glass Tea Pot ($26)

This is one of my favorite orders of the year and I bought it for the very vain pleasure of watching some tea blossoms bloom as they steep. It's beautiful. I use it every week. The glass strainer inside is super convenient for loose leaf teas and is very easy to clean.

Tea Blossoms from Chado Tea ($16/2 oz.)

This was one of the best blossoming tea flavors I've ever had. It's light and has a nice guava fragrance. Chado also has a bunch of other blossoming or display teas that are lovely to watch and drink. I'm unable to imbed the video of the blossoming tea but you can head over to my Instagram to watch the timelapse, which is strangely satisfying and addicting.

Tarot Cards ($23)

I'm only a baby witch, but I bought these more for reading the fortunes of my characters and figuring out how to best torture them and force them to grow with the story. Then I started reading cards for all my friends and coworkers and basically changing their lives (i.e. giving them the excuses they wanted to hear to make the choices they wanted to make). These cards are beautiful, the illustrations are haunting, and they are a pleasure to open and read through each time. They also gave me nightmares, but so do car commercials, so there's that.

Double-Sided Letterboard ($22)

I don't think I need an explanation as to why you/writer friend needs this in your life. My Instagram has become a motivational letterboard account now.

Kalimba (African Finger Piano) ($30)

I BET SOME OF Y'ALL DIDN'T EVEN KNOW THIS EXISTED AND NEITHER DID I UNTIL I LOOKED UP "OBSCURE STRESS RELIEVING MUSICAL INSTRUMENT." Just kidding. This is a historically and culturally important musical instrument you can hold in your hands and play with your thumbs like you were texting your best friend. It's beautiful, although it did get me stopped at the Los Cabos Airport because TSA didn't know what it was and then I had to belt out "Under the Sea" which got a lot of laughs, except I don't know if those laughs were for the instrument or my playing ability. It's relatively easy to play if you were looking to pick up an instrument for the New Year, small and portable, and quiet enough that you won't annoy too many people, although that's never a true concern of mine.

Ukulele ($50+)

Speaking of picking up an instrument for the New Year, I love my tenor ukulele. I tried to learn the guitar but those strings are the bane of short, chubby, stubby fingers. The ukulele is much easier with only four strings, and it's also super adorable which is a huge incentive for me. The trick to learning is to pick a song you really want to play so you force yourself to learn things, and to also see it as more of a stress relief than as another skill you can use to show up your siblings.

What do these musical instruments have to do with writing, you ask? LET ME PONTIFICATE THE MANY BENEFITS OF LEARNING AN INSTRUMENT. 1) stress relief, 2) for the love of God, life is more than books (but not much more, tbh) and you can only read and write so many things before you need to refill your creative well with something else, 3) cognitive development, and 4) to prevent your life from dipping into the abyss that is "basic."

Vintage-Style Typewriter Mechanical Keyboard ($269)

Okay full disclosure, I do not own one of these but I deeply want to! Look at how beautiful (and incredibly unnecessary...but beautiful) it is! :')

This post was incredibly fun to put together because now I can kind of justify my spending habits. I think.

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