I recently received some great office supplies to review from Carolina Pad, including some samples from their Sasquatch line, and now this review will focus on their Hot Chocolate line. As you can see from the first photo, the Hot Chocolate line from Carolina Pad is full of bright colors and energetic designs. The items they sent from this line are the notebooks, a ballpoint pen, and the notebook bookmarks.
The Hot Chocolate Personal Pad is a 5″x7″ ruled notebook with 80 perforated pages that are bound by a double coil to prevent snags, and has a front inside pocket. If you look closely to the right in the photo above you can also see that the personal pad has an elastic band closure peeking out from under the back cover. One of the small details about this notebook that really stands out is that the inside covers were also taken into account in terms of making sure that they match the overall color scheme. The paper in this notebook, just like the Sasquatch notebooks has perforated pages which rip off in a very easy and clean manner…nothing worse than bad perforation on paper, so I really love that Carolina pad got this right.
In the same picture as the personal pad, you can also see the ballpoint pen that has the same bright color circles, and pink accents to match everything else in this line. As far as ballpoint pens go, they certainly are not my pen of choice, but with that said, this pen is definitely serviceable if you are a ballpoint person. It writes fairly smooth, and I do like the unique plunger or clicker depending on what you call it…it has a small accordion-like piece of soft plastic that acts as a spacer on the top of the pen. The bottom pink grip is comfortable to hold onto, and stays firm between your fingers, although it is a little on the thick side for my personal taste.
The third thing that you can see in this same photo are the notebook bookmarks which are a really great idea. They have tabs that just slip into the notebook coils and you can move them to different pages of the notebook as needed so you have a quick and easy way to get to a certain part of your notebook. The bookmarks are made of a sturdy but flexible plastic that lets you bend them slightly to fit between the coils. This is the first time I’ve seen an item like this and I think they are a great idea, the only modification Id want to make to these is to make the part that sticks out something that you can write on so you can have customized labels on each of them.
The last item here is the larger 8 1/2″ x 10 1/2″ notebook. Again, this notebook has 80 pages of ruled and perforated paper bound by a double coil to prevent snags. It also has an elastic band to hold the notebook shut, and a color coordinated inside cover that matches the rest of the design. The only differences between this notebook and the smaller are that it is three hole punched, and there is no inside pocket on the cover. One thing to note though is that if you want to use the notebook bookmarks with this size notebook, you will be blocking the holes for the three hole punch if you wish to bind the entire notebook in a three ring binder.
Since no review is ever complete without a writing sample, I thought I should include one here. Again, ballpoints are not my writing tool of choice, but in terms of being practical and convenient to have around, I know that some people do prefer them. As you can see in the scan, the pen performs as you would expect, and if I didnt already say it, it is a bold 1mm point. The pen and paper work well together as there is no bleed through, feathering or any other issue with them.
Overall I think that the Carolina Pad Hot Chocolate Collection is a well put together line of items, with a great design and some really nice functional enhancements that you dont see in all other notebooks. Make sure to check out the rest of the Hot Chocolate line to see all of the other items in this collection including folders, desk calenders, binders, address books, and even poster board. If you want to pick up some of these you can either hit the Carolina Pad website, or check for them at your local Wal-Mart, Target, Kmart, Walgreen, or Staples.