Don't be embarrassed if you love them!
Okay, maybe a little
embarrassed, if you're like me and have two shelves and a drawer full of blank notebooks, plus dozens more stashed under the bed...
My most recent spree was at Target. They carry a line called "Green Inspired," which has blank notebooks and journals in different sizes and types. I haven't written in any yet, but the paper quality seems remarkably good, especially considering the price.
Another good place to look is Michael's, the hobby store. The dollar bins upfront are good for small, cheap notebooks; and my store at least has an aisle farther back of matching party favors in different themes, which often include hardback journals.
Also, Barnes & Noble has a line of journals in a couple different sizes, which are quite substantial and good quality. They always have them in the bargain section and they're usually very reasonably priced. They haven't changed the designs in a while, though, so I think I have them all as of right now.
My new thing is softcover notebooks of roughly 8.5x11 or A4 size, which are fairly thin, like maybe 25 sheets/50 pages. About a year ago I found this store at a mall called Typo (Cotton On is the main brand, for clothing) and they had six packs of A4 notebooks like this on sale. I bought a couple packs (12 notebooks) and have since used 10 of them. Perhaps I should mention I write stories in all of these notebooks. The Typo notebooks are perfect for giving a story a substantial start, but without the intimidation factor of cracking open a 200 page bound journal. I cannot apparently find these exact same things anywhere, but I've been looking for similar items.
Pens: I like gel pens and rollerballs best. My very favorite is the G2, followed by the Pilot Precise V5 (capped has a slight edge over retractable as I like to watch the ink in the window). Pentel Energels are nice too. I don't like pens that get blobby, OR that take too long to use up! I need the positive reinforcement of emptying pens to keep me going.