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the tools of my trade from rustico

Rustico 3 products

I’m convinced if I had been writing poetry in one of these Rustico journals when I was a teenager rather than in a “Love Is” cartoon notebook, my poems would have had a lot more character and been a lot less cutesy.

As a writer, I scribble notes on anything nearby. My bag is stuffed with napkins from fast food places where I come up with brilliant sentences that never make it to the computer because I end up wrapping my chewed gum in them and throwing them out without ever looking at them again.

Sure, I could take notes on my iPhone or iPad but iDon’t want to. All the words basically look the same on a screen, and it’s too easy to just click “delete” on a whim. Words seem to literally hold more weight on paper.

I like paper. Actually, I love paper but have finally come to terms with the fact that I should be more discriminating about what I write potentially important ideas on. You know that expression, “Dress for the job you want?” Well, I guess the same rule applies to writing. Writing on perforated, college-lined paper in a Staples notebook I got for like fifty cents sends out a message that I’m not putting a lot of worth on my words.

So, when I was offered an opportunity from my good friends at the Entertainment and New Media Network to review a few products from Rustico Leather, it was like I was being given a sign. I spent about five seconds on their website before screaming, “YES!” and then heading back to drool over their handiwork.

These artisan-quality journals and photo albums and accessories are gorgeous.

Rustico journals

Just holding the Traveler Leather Journal made me feel that whatever thoughts I filled it with would be important, that my words would be valuable, and would, over time, become as cherished and long-lasting as the cover of this beautiful book itself.

This journal feels so comfortable to me because it’s got a weathered, vintage, authentic look that I can totally relate to! It’s not one of a million, manufactured to look exactly alike; it’s got its own unique quirks that make it accepting of my own. It’s not perfect and my writing doesn’t have to be, either. For someone who has always been too intimidated to stain the blank pages of a fancy notebook with writing that may or may not live up to the cost of the book, this is so liberating and empowering.

I took my journal with me to the ENMN conference, and just started writing. I love the flap-tie closure because I can lovingly swaddle my words, keeping them private until I’m ready to share, then unwrap them with the joy of opening a gift. And the paper? Oh, the paper! It’s rough-cut, thick and juicy — and recycled! — and so much more satisfying to write on than those memo pads left on our front door by real estate agents.

Lois Rustico journal

At the conference, Rustico generously gave each of us a Wool Quote Book Journal, their smallest hand-sewn journal. Made from 100% Virgin Merino Wool, it fits easily into my bag and always elicits compliments when I take it out to write in it. It is, admittedly, a far cry from my stack of Chipotle napkins (no offense to my beloved Chipotle, whose loyalty card I am still coveting, ahem).

Continuing with the “dress for the job you want” philosophy, I also switched out the cute, plastic luggage tag on my suitcase – which was fine when I was taking my kids to Disneyland – for Rustico’s hand-sewn tag made from the same 100% Virgin Merino Wool as the Quote Book Journal. Simple yet sophisticated, it can withstand the conditions whether I’m heading to the middle of nowhere to see the Northern Lights or piling up bags for a cruise around the world, both of which are on my travel bucket list.

Rustico luggage tag

Those travel dreams seem far more likely to come true with my passport safely ensconsed in Rustico’s rich, leather cover which I hope will be the perfect traveling companion for visiting all seven continents and all 50 states. It has a deep patina that gives it a worldly feel, like it’s already been around once and has many great stories to tell.

Rustico passport cover

I’ve seen over and over again that, if you have the right tools, you can do anything. (This was proved to me recently when I finally and miraculously was able to remove a bizarre rust stain from my wall.)

Thanks to Rustico and the pages of notes I took about travel writing during the ENMN conference, I’m looking forward to eventually having seven Traveler Journals filled with the memories from each one of the continents that will be stamped and stored in my passport holder.

My suitcase is tagged and ready to go.


  1. Like you, I prefer the hand-written word. Have a great trip and learn a lot so you can come back and share it with us!

  2. Oooh – I love those! They have such a romantic feel to them, I’m sure my writing would be 10x better if I were using something as beautiful as that!

  3. Those are beautiful! I have HORRIBLE handwriting, I wish I could write beautiful in those!

  4. I, too, love a beautiful journal. I have some beautiful ones just waiting for me. But now that I’ve been writing by keyboard so long my fingers no longer have the will to handwrite long entries. Nor do I want to cart around a thick journal. But I do have so many scribbles, you’ve inspired me to give my nice journals another try!

  5. I love keeping a journal with me to jot down notes- but mine is nothing as lovely as these. Maybe i would write deeper thoughts and be more serious with a journal that is “swaddled” (Oh, I love that) in leather. What a lovely way to save your writing.

  6. Those journals are lovely… and I want at least one. Based on your idea that what we scribble our notes and ideas on follows the same “dress for success” rules, I suppose I should stop using the backs of my old business cards — of which I have nearly an entire box from my former newspaper job. Yep, need to look to the future not scribble notes on (negative) things from the past. Gotta get me a Rustico journal!

  7. Honestly, because I have been typing at a computer for so many years, it hurts to write after a few paragraphs for me – so I don’t write anymore unless I absolutely have to.

  8. Helene Cohen Bludman says:

    Ahh, iLove your post and these gorgeous Rustico products. I also have a problem finding the scraps of paper and crumpled napkins I’ve scribbled on. Even in this age of digital convenience, there is something to be said for the permanence of the written word in the pages of a journal.

  9. I love this post because I love journals.

    I remember when my son was young a friend and I went out one evening to spend time at Barnes and Noble. We just wanted to smell the books, and we both purchased journals and swore we’d write in them daily. Of course I didn’t keep that up, but wish I did because I love the look and feel of a beautiful journal with its pages just screaming (at least to me) to be written in.

    These products look delish. Good for you, Lois! You look beautiful, btw.

  10. K Squared Glamour says:

    There is something about a leather bound journal that just feels right.

  11. I love how you “can lovingly swaddle your words”…..that really gives each word you write respect! I too use journals……not leather….to write in. One bedside, one in my purse and one next to the TV…….funny how lines from TV shows or commercials can trigger a profound thought!
    I enjoyed your review and your new found sense of ‘word worth’ LOL. Hope you get to take those trips sooner rather than later……they’ll be super reads just like your Thelma and Louise trip!

  12. These are beautiful journals! I would love one of them to use for a vacation journal this summer.

  13. I love the journal that you shared. I prefer to handwrite my thoughts then to write my journal online. Thank you so much for sharing and I hope you fun on your venture. Be sure to write lots down nd share with us.

  14. These journals are beautiful! I think we should consider our words and thoughts as sacred and dress them with care. I have tons and tons of journals, or rather, I’ve filled tons and tons of journals, and I use them for different things. One might be to journal my dreams, one might be for gratitude lists, or for prayers. I like the covers and the paper to reflect the mood of the content, if that makes sense. Of course, when all else fails, I will write on the back of an envelope crumbled in my purse.

  15. What A Sharp Looking Journal I Need To Get One Of These!!

  16. Those are real classy looking!

  17. I love these! And I love travel journals we are about to leave on a trip and am reminded to get one! Thanks!

  18. I guess my spiral notebooks really aren’t all that exciting then, are they? I need some pretty things like this!

  19. Very nice, looks like nice soft leather. i would use it as a prayer journal.

  20. I love leather bound journals, particularly with ties. I had a hard time writing in the first one I had…I felt like if I didn’t have something really wonderful to say I’d be wasting it. (I’ve gotten over it, but I still do a lot of writing in the skinny Moleskine journals that I have stashed everywhere.)

  21. I love that leather! I used to have nice hand writing. But I went to college.

  22. YES! I am all about pen and paper – I keep my work schedule and projects in multiple notebooks, as well as my personal diary in a separate notebook. These looks like quality journals.

  23. These are beautiful. I really like a good bound journal to write in. I keep a family holiday memory journal that we add to every Christmas season. Hand written notes and stories are so much more personal than typed print.

  24. These books are absolutely beautiful. It is probably wonderful to be able to pull one out and write something down.

  25. I love their products, such great quality!

  26. nice journals – I use a journal at my art fairs to track info – these are very nice

  27. I prefer paper and actually writing things out as well – it just makes the thought process seem easier. 🙂

  28. “Words seem to literally hold more weight on paper.” Love this line, and totally agree! I also have a journal that I write notes in every once in a while. Your travel journal is so pretty!

  29. I think that computers and tablets are making it so that kids don’t want to write and it is sad, as I always feel better after jotting down my thoughts 🙁 Those books are beautiful

  30. I love journals. I don’t really write much in them but I just like to have them. I love the rustic, vintage look of these.

  31. I love paper too. It just seems like it gives it a more real feeling for me too.

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