Last week, Mr. Right and I went on our much-needed vacation to Boston to visit the 2023 PAX East convention. This is our second year in a row attending. If you missed out, you can find my recap of our first PAX East experience here. Next year, we plan to travel elsewhere, so on this trip I wanted to cover as much ground as I could and see more of the city. I was able to shop around some specialty item hobby stores, a gallery install, and the Museum of Fine Arts Boston!
Street art in Boston outside a book shop.
PAX East 2023
Photo Credits: Google Images
We arrived in town the day before the convention began, and I am glad we did! After having an unpleasant hotel experience with Omni Boston at Seaport, we checked out and was able to grab one of the last reservations at the Westin. Thank God! Having a last-minute change was so stressful; especially when all of this was taken care of in January. Everything worked out in the end. The hotel provided us with over $200 worth of coupons for eateries which we gladly took advantage of. Being even closer to the convention venue was a plus as well.
Photo Credits: Pax East
As for PAX, my favorite thing is the merchandise. It’s always such a coveted thing to have! We waited in line over an hour, but it was worth it as everything was sold out by the second day.
This year, Nintendo was featured at the convention which was a highlight for me. I only play handheld Nintendo Switch games at the moment, so it was great to see DLC demos for my faves like Cult of the Lamb and other popular indie games soon to release. This was a new addition to the expo and I think it was well received. There are plenty of exclusive Switch gamers out there and I’m glad to see the expo embrace that.
Appelboom Specialty Penshop
My heart was set on some handmade watercolor paper I saw last year at Arts & Craftsman Supply, but to my surprise the shop had closed down! 🙁 Nevertheless, I was very happy with the other shopping stops I had planned to make. One of them is Appelboom. This specialty fountain pen shop was on Bromfield Street, tucked away amongst gift shops, bakeries, tarot readers and banks. I learned that this was the only fountain pen dedicated shop in the city. I immediately fell in love with it; it definitely renewed my interest in journal keeping and letter writing. Two hobbies that I had taken a break from since starting my new job.
I chatted with the shop owner and his associate a lot! We discussed our unique accents, the attitude of people given their hometown, and of course… fountain pens! I was even able to share some knowledge with the shop owner about BENU branded pens, and how their price point is much more entry-level friendly. I hope to see him offer BENU in his shop the next time I visit. 🙂 I did get to test write with another high-quality pen, the Conklin Duragraph Rainbow fountain pen with a gold nib! I’ve never tried a pen like this, and I was impressed right away. I didn’t purchase the more expensive version at the shop but wasted no time ordering one with the standard steel nib (more affordable for me) on GouletPens.com.
Photo credits: GouletPens.com | Kaweco Sport Frosted Series (“Papaya” pink)
I left Appelboom with (2) Rhodia fountain pen paper notebooks, an ornate diary, a pink leatherbound Filofax with rings, two beautiful 50mL bottles of Pilot Iroshizuku inks in “Ajisai” and “Sui-Gyoku”, a bottle of Diamine “Oxblood” ink, new TWSBI Eco fountain pen in Transparent Purple, my first LAMY Next pen and my very first Kaweco Sport mini fountain pen (Papaya) with converter. I ended up mailing these goodies back home via FedEx; just in case I encountered issues with TSA at the airport.
Photo credits: Reddit.com | Conklin Duragraph Rainbow fountain pen
Bob Slater Stationer
I was obsessed with stationary goods and pens at this point and found another shop I had to visit. I went in with the intention to buy new refills for my Filofax planner…and left with the special edition iridescent Kaweco Sport pen! I also picked up a cute Midori notebook and a clear cover. They have easily become one of my favorites for journaling with fountain pen as they hold up well with different inks.
Photo credits: JetPens.com | Midori A5 grid lined notebook
I had to check out one of the only anime merch shops in Boston, Anime Zakka. They have all the beloved characters from anime and Sanrio featured in merch like figurines, backpacks, totes, deskpads and more! Both Mr. Right and I left with some pretty cool bags that we knew we wouldn’t be able to get anywhere else. I decided on this pink My Melody itta bag. I needed a new bag to house my enamel pin collection and this was perfect.
What is an ita bag? The term itabag (痛バッグ)—and yes, it is one word when translated, not “ita bag”—roughly translates to “painful bag”, which gets the name from being both painfully expensive, as well as painful to look at or carry around (in the more “cringy uber-fan” kind of way, not physically painful). Itabags are handbags, totes, or backpacks decorated excessively with character merchandise, usually from anime, manga or video games. The most common things used to decorate itabags are buttons, rubber straps, and small plush toys.
I’ve always seen these stylish and minimalistic canvas bags amongst creatives in the online art community. I never did much research on where to grab one, but I came across an outlet shop while out in Boston and had to get one! The brand guarantees quality to last the the life time of the bag and I’m happy to have one. I took home the Kanken Mini style in this beautiful hot pink shade.
The Art of The Brick by Nathan Sawaya
I came upon this world renowned lego art instillation on Newbury Street while on my travels and had to stop in! It never ceases to amaze me the creativity artists have. No medium is a limit but only an opportunity. The entire install was amazing, but here are some of my favorites.
Museum of Fine Arts – Boston
This is only a fraction of all of the beautiful works I got to view at the MFA Boston. I really enjoyed seeing the various painted works in different styles.
Isn’t this work of art beautiful?! It looks like a huge living plant.
T.C Canon Caddo and Kiowa, 1946-1978 | Chief Watching (1978) & Man In Wicker Chair (1975)
It was a great trip; even better than it was last year! I miss Boston already and it’s chilly breezy weather. I even miss some of their nonchalant rude-ass attitude people (it’s just super different from our southern hospitality ha!) Until next time, ciao baby. 🙂