So I Asked Southwest Airlines to Sponsor My Wedding

Yes, you read that right – I requested corporate sponsorship of my wedding. Now before an uproar occurs, telling me how odd and inappropriate it would be to have a corporate sponsor for a wedding, of all things: 1) I never actually expected a response from Southwest. I just thought it would be a cool and humorous story if anything did come about from the request. And 2) even if they did offer to sponsor our wedding, we wouldn’t have done anything which would have imposed upon the seriousness and importance of the event (so no Southwest patch on the back of my tux.)

As many of you know, I will be getting married out in California in June. As probably more of you know, weddings can be extremely expensive. Not many people have an extra $30k laying around, let alone a couple of college students – and so I thought, “It can’t hurt to ask,” and I sent off an email to Southwest Airlines. I never expected a response, so when I received a box in the mail from Southwest Airlines earlier today, I was pretty shocked.

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Now before I say what was in the box (calm down, Brad Pitt,) let me explain why I turned to Southwest Airlines in the first place.

Joanna and I met our Freshman year of college in Atchison, Kansas, however while not at college, she lived in southern California, while I live in Omaha, Nebraska. After my first semester of Sophomore year, I left that college and began to go to the more affordable public university here in town – so while we weren’t at the same college any more, there was only a couple of hours between us, so it wasn’t that bad. After the second semester of our Sophomore year, Joanna also left that college and returned to California. Now there was 1,600 miles of flatlands, forest, mountains, and desert between us.

Enter Southwest Airlines.

As a couple of college students, we didn’t have that much discretionary income, so when looking for flights, we had to keep an eye out for the best rates. Southwest not only had the best rates, but they were also commonly less than half the cost of competitors – which meant that we could visit twice as often. So instead of only visiting each other for a week or two once or twice a year, we were able to visit each other (either she comes here or I’d go there) every couple of months. While I’m not going to say that we wouldn’t have lasted these five years without visiting as often as we did, I will say that being able to visit frequently and get to know each other’s families helped to strengthen our relationship and was a major factor in our getting married.

So I thought that since Southwest has been there for us these past five years, why not invite them to the wedding. So that’s what I did. I invited Southwest to help us celebrate our marriage and the families they helped bring together through the service they provide.

Now while Southwest declined our invitation to sponsor our wedding, they did actually respond, which is much more than I expected.

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Upon opening the box, I found some pretzels, peanuts, and a letter which read:

Dear Mr. Zeller

We’re honored to know that Southwest Airlines has played such a role in your and Joanna’s LUV Story. Even when were miles apart, you still made it work for you by taking advantage of our low-fares! Our core purpose is to connect people to what’s important in their lives, and we are touched we could keep you and Joanna connected since the very beginning.

We are truly grateful you want us to be part of your special day. At this time, we are not able to respond favorably to your request to sponsor your wedding. However, to add a little bit of LUV into the mix, you will find a few bags of our world-famous peanuts and pretzels to had out as party favors!

We truly appreciate the time you took to inform us about your story, and we greatly appreciate your patronage. We send our sincere congratulations to you and Joanna, and we wish you many years filled with happiness and LUV together. It will be our pleasure to welcome you onboard as husband and wife for many years to come!

Sincerely, Stuart Johnson

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So in the end, I guess this post is moreso in appreciation of Southwest’s customer service. Since Zeller Writing Company is a business that puts customer service and satisfaction above all else, Southwest now holds a special place in my heart and has earned a customer for life.

Temporary Shipping Delay

From March 22-28th, I’ll be heading to California to take care of some plans before my June wedding – so while it’s awesome that I’ll get some time in the sun and some personal details taken care of, it also means that I won’t be able to ship packages while I’m away.

All orders placed between 12pm cdt March 21st – March 30th will ship on March 31st.

While I know this may be an inconvenience to some, one good thing to note is that this will be my last trip away from the store until my wedding in June, then after that, any shipping delays should be much less frequent. So if there something you’ve had in your cart or wish list and would like it shipped out before I leave, make sure to get that order in soon and I’ll get it all taken care of!

Introducing Furrow Books

If any of you are following us on Twitter or Facebook, you may have noticed that we’ve been pretty focused on a certain new line of notebooks: Furrow Books. Furrow Books are a brand new line of notebooks that we have designed and will soon be coming out with (contingent on the success of a Kickstarter campaign.)
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Furrow Books are extremely simple, yet versatile in design. They come in two sizes, pocket (3.5″ x 5.5″) and large (5.5″ x 8.25″,) and contain 48 and 96 pages of blank 60#T 100% recycled paper that works well with just about any writing instrument. To see a simple writing instrument compatibility chart, click here.

The covers and two-sided ruled insert cards are made of 80#C stock that’s ivory in color and contains natural flecks of fiber. We minimized any branding or predetermined content on or within these notebooks by limited printing to just the lower-center back of each book. The final product will be packs of three for the pocket size, two for the large; all wrapped with a belly band and heat sealed to preserve freshness.

Besides the materials being compatible with a wide variety of writing instruments, the primary feature that makes Furrow Books unique is the two-sided ruled insert, included with each notebook. The card allows you to choose and change the ruling that you use anywhere within your book. You simply select the ruling you’d like to use, slip the card behind the page you’re working on, add your content, then once you’re done, remove the card and you’re only left with your work. There’s no unnecessary clutter remaining from permanently printed lines that no longer serve a purpose on the page anyway.
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Our goal with Furrow Books is to minimize the noise between the notebook, the user, and the content that they create.

Along with the great design, we wanted to make sure that these notebooks are high quality – that’s why all of the materials for Furrow Books are North American sourced, then brought back here to Omaha, Nebraska to be constructed. We’re able to see the production first hand and make changes easily without long delays or massive minimum run sizes. The process does cost a little more than mass producing everything overseas, but it’s much more efficient on our end and provides for a higher quality product.

Here's a computer mock-up of the Founding Supporter LE.

Here’s a computer mockup of the Founding Supporter LE.

While the total run investment is lower than what would be required had these been produced overseas, the per piece cost is higher, and more than we’re able to invest at the moment – so we’ve decided to turn public for some help. We’ve created a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter where you can learn a little more about Furrow Books while helping us reach our funding goal. We have some awesome rewards lined up for those that choose to back us – including a limited edition Founding Supporter single pocket-size Furrow Book. We’ll only be making 2,500 of them, all numbered by hand.

If you feel that Furrow Books would be something that you’d be interested, we’d love to have your support and encourage your to check out ourKickstarter campaign here.

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Our Vision
If the Kickstarter campaign is successful, we have some awesome plans for Furrow Books as time goes on. The initial production will be for our first non-limited edition, The Great Plains Edition, and the Founding Supporter limited edition; however we intend to release new designs and editions regularly, while providing the opportunity for businesses and individuals to create their own editions with lower minimums and many options. We hope to see Furrow Books in the hands of doers and dreamers the world over, being used as mediums for whenever inspiration or simple need arises.

Update: The belly band viewed in the images above are just mock-ups of the bands, as the final design will change. The talented graphic artist Scott Fuller of The Studio Temporary created an awesome design for the bands and we’ll be releasing the design first to backers during the campaign!

I'm Changing Sides

Over the next 90 days (or maybe longer) I’m going to work on improving my right-handedness. 

I know that it’s not much of a secret, but for those of you who do not know, I am left handed. While there’s nothing wrong with it, it does make some things a little more difficult compared to being right handed:

  • Smeared pencil and ink on the side of my left hand from being dragged through fresh writing/drawings
  • Smearing my writing/drawings as I dragged my hand across them
  • Difficulty writing in side-bound notebooks (which is a much bigger deal when you went to school during the Trapper-Keeper fad.)
  • Poor handwriting from how I have to hold my pen/pencil should I try and avoid smearing (I’m an overwriter)
  • Writing in a seemingly perpetual state of italics if I don’t turn the paper to compensate
  • Either not having left handed desks at all in school, or else finding one in the back shadows of the room
  • Not being able to take full advantage of flex nib fountain pens because of how I hold the pens

Since I’ve grown up left handed, none of that stuff really bothers me, however it’s that last one which made me want to begin this challenge to myself.

I’m setting a goal for myself of 90 days (though I’ll keep working at it as long as it takes) to be able to match or surpass my left handed writing abilities with my right hand. I don’t ever think I’ll become right hand dominant (though I do do pretty much everything else (shooting, throwing, drinking, pouring tea, bowling, darts) with my right hand, so it wouldn’t be too much of a stretch,) but I would at least like to have the option/ability to write with my right hand. I also want to be able to do calligraphy, use flex nibs, and use wet inks or pens without the worry of smearing or needing special instruction.

Here's my results after day 1 - I used this first day to just create a baseline for how my handedness compares.

Here’s my results after day 1 – I used this first day to just create a baseline for how my handedness compares.

My ideal result would be to have the ability to write Spencerian or Copperplate script, though I don’t anticipate much skill or fluency in those areas after 90 days.

I’m not following any set of instructions on how to do this, but instead I’m just sitting down everyday and practicing for a little while. After I practice, I’ll be posting a photo to my Instagram, Twitter, and Tumblr accounts of that day’s results. So if you’re interested in following along or joining in as I take this challenge on, make sure to follow on those accounts for the updates.

If you have any experience doing this, suggestions on things to do, or just a general comment or question, feel free leave a comment below, shoot me an email, or reach out via any of the social media sites that I’m on.

Week 1 Review: Click on each image to view it larger.
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This week I worked on getting the basics down and just taking things slow so that I can get used to the motions required for the different words. I’ve realized that I can write with my right hand pretty well so long as I accept that I’ll only be able to write about 3 words per minute. As the challenge continues, I think that I’m going to start using one or two standard phrases in order to have an actual reference for my progress each day. (It’s kind of hard to see improvement when the letters/words/phrases change everyday.)

Field Notes Pitch Black

FN_PitchBlack_0002Some of you may have noticed that the Field Notes Red Blooded edition is not longer available. That’s because that edition was recently retired and replaced with the Pitch Black edition. For those that enjoyed the Summer 2013 Night Sky Limited Edition, you’ll really going to like this regular edition. It’s very similar to the Night Sky editions except for a few key difference, which I’ll detail below.

To start off, let’s go over the usual characteristics. It’s 3.5″ x 5.5″, comes in a 3-pack, each memobook has 48 pages, and is side-staplebound. The pages are 50#T and have a dot-graph pattern. The cover is totally black except for the gray logo and text. Even the staples are black!

FN_PitchBlack_0003On first glance, you’ll notice that it’s really similar to the Night Sky edition, except that there’s no holographic foil pattern on the back, the interior of the Night Sky edition had a reticle-graph pattern (as opposed to dot-graph in the Pitch Black edition,) and there just the usual story and practical applications list on the back interior-cover of the Pitch Black edition instead of the information about the summer night sky as in the Night Sky edition. Comparing the two editions side-by-side, you won’t be able to tell them apart when looking at the front, but once you check out the interior and the back, you’ll notice the differences.

The paper is the same as with many other editions, and is not fountain pen friendly; however it still performs very well with regular pens and pencils. I don’t think that there’s ever been a Field Notes that’s advertised as being fountain pen friendly, and while I’d love an edition that is, I’m not really surprised or disappointed that the editions aren’t fountain pen friendly.

Check out the video below for some more information:

So as I said in the view, these are not limited edition and will be around for a while, so grab a pack to try out and if you enjoy them, you can rest assured knowing that there’ll be more packs waiting for you; however if you do have any additional comments or questions, feel free to contact me any time via the comments below, shooting me an email, or reaching out to me via any of the social media networks that I’m on and I’ll be happy to help you out.