No More Resolutions. It’s 2017!


We’ve heard it all before. The question posed when classes resume and you’re prompted to write a little reflection about the holidays. The question young  and not-so-young adults fill with answers that don’t make it past pen and paper. 

“What are your resolutions for 2017?”

Yeah, resolutions my face. I think I’d rather just stick to “goals” this year rather than “resolve” to do or accomplish something that I have no full control over. I’d rather set goals that I know I can stick to. Goals sound way nicer, and it kind of gives you a sense of “journey”, don’t you think? Resolutions sound stricter, less room for mistakes and creativity. Or it might just be me. 

But yes, it’s “goals” for 2017. 

Again, to make sure I don’t forget that this past year was good (albeit a little disappointing - RIP Alan Rickman and Carrie Fisher), I’m listing down a summary of things I’m proud of this year (in no order). If you find reading about other people’s feats boring (haha), feel free to skip the list and read the paragraph after. :)


  • Learned more about Social Media Marketing
  • Established The Indy Miss more
  • Reached 1.7k fans on the Facebook page!
  • Got my first two big-paying sponsored posts gig for the blog
  • Learned to read people more (sorry not sorry)
  • Met new blogger friends online and IRL (yay!)
  • Adapted a new art style (& still working on my old one)
  • Got addicted to Himouto! Umaru-Chan and New Game! (animé)
  • Produced stickers and other merch for a mini art fair
  • Discovered the art of Podcasting and voice acting (haha!)
  • Established that money is like a candle in the wind (:/)
  • Got approved to set up shop at Creative Market!
  • Learned how to deal with clients better and keep a good relationship going
  • Learned a thing or two about flat-laying properly
  • Got a little thriftier (looong way to go still)
  • Fixed my portfolio and made it a bit more consistent than before
  • Got better at lettering and calligraphy
  • Started a newsletter (RSS) and gained 28 more subscribers
  • Ordered a mug print of an illustration I made on DA (worth the wait and moolah!)
  • Learned the “business-y” side of my life and career (*shivers*)
  • Learned that not eating lunch and snacking instead at 3pm helps me lose weight (will do again after the holidays)
  • Turned one year young at my first job (the feels)
  • Realized who actually cares about maintaining a friendship with me
  • Made very valuable connections in the real world
  • Got invited to international exhibits in London, Berlin, and California. Sadly couldn’t get funds to support each trip, haha.
  • He put a ring on it :P
  • Got a good sense of when to stop talking and when to just let the words flow.

So. 2016 was quite bomb. It's either you take it positively or negatively. What's great about being a blogger is the ability to go back in time via your posts and see how you've improved and what effed-up stuff have happened. 

I've got a LOT of hope for 2017, and I'm tired of asking it to "please be kind to me". The only way anything will happen this year will depend on what you do with it. Connections you make, friendships you burn and create, people you devote time to, what you stand up for, and how much you'll let it affect you.

But... if I DID have to list a resolution, there'd only be one: SPEND WISELY. 

How about you? What are your goals for 2017? I'd love to congratulate you on your own feats this past year, so leave a comment! :) 

See you in 2017.

A Letter to End-of-2017 Me



Hey girl,

How are things? A lot can happen in a year, and I’m sure you’ve changed yet again. I’m writing this in the middle of Super Typhoon “Nina” at grandpa’s house in Partido, while listening to a song dad is playing on his laptop. Very church-y, complete with a choir and ad libs from the main male singer. I’m super stressed about a lot of things, mostly work-related. Also, I’m still being pressured to go abroad and get started on a career there.

But all in a day’s work.

I’m currently at a point in my life where I’ve figured out some parts of my existence, what to say or not say, whose bad side you’d want to stay clear from - just those random things. I’m currently scared of the future, scared for your present. How is it from the other end of the year? How much have things changed? Are you finally a millionaire (haha)?

All joking aside, I’ve got so many questions for you Vee. I’m hoping everything went well for you this past year. 

Did you finally move abroad for work? If you did, where you at? If you’re still in Naga, what’s keeping you from going forward?
Have you told people about your - you know - thing? The explanation for that bling you’ve been wearing on your pinky?
Have you finally kickstarted The Indy Miss as a proper brand and gained more organic interactions/followings?
How is your friendship with Pauline and Don? Any new ones?
Have you become more active at church? Part of a ministry?
Any thinner this year? Or is the babe still in want of a fluffy marshmallow to embrace?

What’s the biggest thing that happened to you this coming 2017? (Yeah, grammatically incorrect but whatever.)
What new things have you learned from people around you?
Have you attended more conferences and/or workshops this year? 
How about blogging events? Have you made noises in the blogging world yet?
Have you held more workshops for whatever? 
Have your planned collaborations worked out?

My financial status isn’t looking good, currently. My 13th month vanished into mid-air (haha) because of the pending bills and I still have more to pay. My salary is okay, but not enough to settle other payables. I’m hoping in your present situation you’ve been able to save up enough to not be subjected to this same hardship. 

The pressure to leave the country and work for a higher pay is like a root growing inside me. It’s getting bigger and more pronounced.

I want to cry, Vee, and it’s Christmas. CHRISTMAS TEARS, yay. It’s like I’ve dug a hole and wasn’t sure I’d be able to build a ladder afterwards. I’m powerless over this. If you’re in a better situation by the time you get back to reading this, then good for you! This means we were able to get out of that hole we dug in 2016. 

Veeyah, how is your heart? Is it happy? Sad? Calm? Is it bitter from anything? Just breathe an let what can slide, slide away. You may feel wronged or hurt or disappointed, but it’ll go away.

2016 wasn’t the best, but it was good. Good because more opportunities opened up and your skills expanded. You were able to land decent side jobs online with good pay, mostly writing jobs though. You experienced your first paid sponsorship too! Also, you didn’t get a Starbucks 2016 planner because the paper sucked. It couldn’t hold watercolor even if it tried. You got the Bliss and the DYL though, and got gifted the ABC Daily Journal via the office sneaky santa thing. You didn’t buy the Hobonichi this year because you were really struggling if the money would be worth it, and so you left it for 2018 instead. 

You got a package at the office that had all the signs it was for you aside from the name. Who is Ma. Myra Austero?! At this point in time, I still don’t know who she is, why my new number was on it, why they got every detail right aside from the name. It’s still actually at the office and I don’t plan on taking it home until the new year passes, just to be sure.

So yeah. It’s been reeealllyy weird. 2016 is hella weird. 

Let me know if anything major has changed with 2017 me (us?). 


Loving & hoping,

2016 Veeyah

What's Going On?



So it’s happening. I’ve breached unknown territory. I might have a stalker on my hands. 

I don’t know who has been sending me gifts at home and at the office, and it’s getting ridiculous. Even the boyfriend (who was supposed to have taken off last Saturday and arrived in Australia yesterday) didn’t leave because apparently, he couldn’t shrug off this mystery either. 

Here’s the sitch: Last week, some packages arrived at the office, and as customary, one of our officers received them from the courier. We don’t really bother reading names - as long as they’re addressed to the company, we take them in. Since I wasn’t expecting any parcels, I took no notice of the mail. 

The next day, there was a single package left on the table. Some officemates were beginning to question why none of us have claimed it yet, and the assumed owner of the parcel had already denied having anything to do with it. We were all curious, and upon checking the name on the plastic, we realized it was named for no one in the office. It was addressed to the office, but we knew no one by the name indicated. 

This was baffling, so someone decided to ring the number on the package. 

It was my number

My NEW number. Just one (or two) week/s before, I had upgraded my postpaid plan, so that set bells in my head almost immediately. It had the address and name of the company, with my number and a stranger’s name written on the “send to” area of the bag. On the “sender” area, it had nothing. It had the tracking number written under the receiver’s address, but we couldn’t trace it online since it was missing the three-digit BC (which can only be found on the official receipt/document). 

How were my officemates sure it was for me? Aside from my number being on the package, the contents were too telling. It had Kuretake brush pens, Pilot Petit refills, and a few more calligraphy items - stuff I was just about to order that same day. Creepy as hell. I was so freaked out (still am) about it all I’ve left it in the office ever since. Tried the items once, but that was it. I’ll contact the courier and have them track where it came from ASAP.

I decided that if someone from my Facebook friends list had sent them to surprise me for the holidays, they’d at least send a message if I asked around. So, I posted a photo of the contents of the mail and asked who it could’ve come from. 

Still no word. 

As if that freaky incident wasn’t enough, someone paid for my drink at Starbucks last Saturday. 

So I was in line, okay, ready to pay for my grande Santa Hat Frapuccino and Banana loaf combo when the guy behind me offered to pay for them. While it was great to get something for free, it was an unwelcome “libre”. I politely declined and laughed along with the barista taking my order, saying, “Ay wow, kuya, hehe. Christmas treat?” I meant it as a joke, but the guy took it seriously and insisted it should be charged to him. I just wanted to hide behind the barista who was staring at me then back to the guy. I tried putting him off and making him take back his decision but he handed the girl his card and insisted so much I just had to let it go. I’d been avoiding looking at the guy but I took a quick peek and gave him a quick smile. After thanking him, I went back to my seat by the window and could feel his eyes surveying me. 

Coincidentally, when I went to Starbucks this evening with a few colleagues, he was there AGAIN. I don’t know if it was just a blip, but when he and I saw each other, he stood up and hurriedly left. DOES THAT NOT COUNT AS WEIRD?!

Mistake No. 1: I posted the package mystery on Facebook and got a reaction from le boyfriend. That sort of prompted him to become all too concerned about the whole thing.

Mistake No. 2: I posted about the incident at Starbucks. That added to his concern. 

My concerns: He missed classes for his Master’s Degree because of this hullabaloo. I don’t think I’m in any danger since these have been harmless (albeit insanely weird and mysterious) gifts. 

A popular theory in the office is that they were sent in by a “fan” of my work. I’ve never mentioned my name on my page/s so that could be why the sender couldn’t put my name. However, why didn’t he/she just put “The Indy Miss” or something close to my brand? Why write a completely foreign name on there?

It just doesn’t make ANY sense to me.


Yes. Yes? YES.


“Yes.”

That one word was enough to set all his hormones on fire. His eyes grew wide and his face flushed a deep red. The room started feeling a little less cooler as our body heat intensified. The gorgeous man in front of me bounded to his feet and gave me a dangerous, bone-crushing hug. It seemed to last forever. Not that I was complaining.

“Yes?” 

He asked, still unsure if he heard me right, no doubt. He had a habit of asking twice on anything that concerned me, as if I always had to rethink my responses to his questions. Perhaps, because I had always carried a sarcastic tone right from the beginning. I gave him a fleeting look, teasing. His eyes were serious, masked with shadows that soon vanished when I gave my affirmation.

“Yes.”

Again, the bone-crusher. He had asked me twice, and twice I had said “not now”. I could tell he was doing his best to feign that “I knew it”, calm response he always had, but it was pretty hard - especially when I plopped down beside him and snuggled up to him. I could feel him smiling, his breath ragged. He embraced me again, but this time, it was a hug of contentment. This made me scoot closer to him.

“Why now?”

His voice momentarily cut through the welcomed silence. It caught me off guard. I didn’t know “why now”. I just… felt like it was time. That he had waited so long and been rejected twice broke my heart the same why his did. I didn’t know how to tell him that. I moved up so I could plant a kiss on his cheek and whispered in his ear.

“Why not?”

He laughed softly, sending those lovely ASMR tingles soaring through the back of my head. He sat up and groggily made his way to the coffee table by the balcony. Had I said something wrong? Should I have answered differently? I sat up on the bed, my mind racing. Did I just ruin a perfectly good moment? 

“Thank you.”

I blinked, not sure I had heard correctly. So he wasn’t mad? 

“Thank you?”

He grinned. I was losing my shit, but it was so hard to lose my temper with my sunshine of a man looking adorable in front of me. I think I smiled back. He came back to the bed and handed me a Heineken. I wanted to slap that smug smile off his face, but I knew it was just a reflection of my own. So we’ve finally come to this point. 

“I love you.”

I smiled, hiding my face as he uttered the last word. I had always had something when it comes to saying those three words out loud. I’ve never felt comfortable about it, even with people from my family. I could tell he was waiting for me to say something. 

“Why are you hiding your face?”

I could hear him trying to stifle a laugh. I pouted, my mouth only to be met with his. I pushed him away in shock. He laughed loudly, stretching himself on the bed. He grabbed my fat excuse of a waist and forced me onto the bed beside him. I covered my face with a pillow and tried to pretend I was pissed off at him. Not that that would’ve stopped him from whatever he wanted to do. He knew my weakness to a “T”. 

“You know why.”

He took the pillow away and left me staring at his face. What have I done to deserve such a dream? I’ve told him over and over and over that I wasn’t pretty and that all I had to offer him was everything but that. Aren’t all guys in want of a voluptuous, A-breed girlfriend they could show off to their friends and create hot photos with? 

“Whatever you’re thinking, baby, STOP.”

He might be a mind-reader after all. I feel like with all the years we’ve been together, it was inevitable that we would adopt our partner’s way of thinking. Either that or I’ve been telling him those exact things all the time. He grabbed the remote and started flipping through channels on the TV. I was grateful he knew when to give me space to think, when to insist on hearing my mind or when to just stop altogether. 

“Sorry I still can’t… say them.”

“Hmm?”

“I still can’t say ‘I love you’.”

Again, he laughed. Stupid Veeyah. What did you do just now? You just said them! I closed my eyes and inhaled everything. He patted my head and gave me another kiss on the lips. 

“You’re adorable when you catch yourself being ironic.”

I snorted a laugh. It was ridiculous how one person can make you feel so many things all at once. I loved this man. This bundle of joy I was cuddling with. This guy who waited for years even though I’ve continuously gave him reason to drop everything and leave. This guy who makes me smile everyday without even being with me all the time. I love how his voice does things to me. And I’ve just sealed my forever with him. 

“You’re weird.”

It was his turn to get confused. 

“I like that you’re weird.”

We both laughed and downed two more cans of beer. I could feel myself getting tired and he offered his lap as a pillow. I chose his chest instead. Much warmer and softer in my opinion. I drifted off to sleep while he quietly tapped away at his laptop’s keyboard. More ASMR goodness, yes. My breathing steadied. I could freeze this moment and still not get enough of him. 

Shop for Less with Groupon Coupons


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This is a sponsored post. All opinions on products/services mentioned are all mine and based from personal experience.  

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Art Spit for December

You know that post where you just shove in all (or in this case, most) artworks you've done for the month to mark the nearing end of this period of your artistic journey?

This is it. It's that type of post.

I'm really grateful that despite my busy schedule, there are still moments when I can just quickly take my art materials and letter away all the stress and worries. It pairs amazingly with music trips (of course) and makes everyday a little happier despite the weather.

If you're more into videos, I've created a short time-lapse of a few of my art recordings for you. I tried using Final Cut Pro for the first time ever (I've always been an Adobe AE person) and so far, for this mini video, it worked well.

BGM: "Ride With Me" - Feelo 

*Watch in 1080p!*



*You might've noticed an error in one of the lettering videos, haha. Let's just say I got a little too carried away by the flourishes and felt the need to cover up that space.

Here are some photos I took right after shooting each bit. Had real fun, too.






So many personal projects on my plate that I don't know which I need to do first! They're all equally exciting to me so there's that factor too. Ugh, hahaha. I think I'm really just trying to fit in more practice sessions for my drawing before the year ends. 

I'm also readying something for the blog. Kind of like a resource section of some sort. What do you think? Too soon? Haha.

Lance.


It's the hour when most people are asleep, cozy in bed and curled up next to their significant other. It's the time when the most sincere, unfiltered thoughts find their way into shallower waters of the mind and let themselves have the spotlight for a short moment.

It's the hour when I can let myself think about you and what we can have together and not be burdened by the day's things to do or people to meet. It's the time I get to linger in the place in my mind where you reside 24/7. Everywhere all at once.

Baby... I love it when you call me your baby. Your voice is music to my ears. I don't kid when I tell you you'd make a good ASMR artist. It has a texture to it that makes women's hearts melt. I know that from experience. It has that throaty growl and that adorable accent I've always been attracted to, one that becomes more evident when you give me a call upon your waking. Each sigh, each breath, each word that comes out of your mouth gives me a sense of calm.

When we shared a night together a few months back, just your presence was enough to knock me out for a whole 8 hours of sleep. Not that you're a boring companion but because - well - I felt like I could do anything and you'd still be there when I woke up. And you were.

I used to hate it when you call me "honbun" or "honey bunny", but the more I hear you speak it, the more endearing and warming it feels. How the letters roll out of your tongue like sweet, decadent chocolate syrup on pancakes.

Every time you wake me up with that sweet, sleepy voice of yours, I can't help but smile and want to stay in bed longer. Why would I want to leave the safety and truthfulness of you when I know the world only sees what they want in me? If I could, I'd lie in bed just listening you talk about anything - and that would be my happiness.

Baby, do you remember the day we first met? We were just kids then and had no real notion of "love" and "forever", but we knew how annoying the other could be at times. I disliked you for being immature and loud; you didn't like me for being the stuck-up Miss Priss I was at second grade. Funny how the world creates a story weaved into the likeness of ours.

When you asked me to be yours years back, I didn't think it would matter if I said yes or no. I didn't think you'd stick around after figuring out all my flaws. I didn't think you'd still find me attractive once we started living our own lives away from each other.

What did you see in me that you thought was worth chasing, huh? I'm not beautiful. I'm not a millionaire. I'm not the smartest human being. I'm not perfect. I'm not the type a guy could introduce to their family and be accepted into the "gene pool". What made you say to yourself you'd be better off with someone like me and not with those gorgeous model friends of ours that obviously think I'm not worth your time?

I'll never forget the way your eyes gain that dark and smokey stare when you tell me how much you love me and sends welcome chills up my spine. I didn't think I could ever be loved like that. Still having issues with that if I'm being honest. But, you've proven me wrong. Thank you.

Baby, when we celebrate your birthday on the 15th, please be assured that whatever I do, I'll be doing out of love for you. Don't ever think I was forced or coerced into doing "the surprise". Though I have restrictions on my end from telling the world I belong to you, I want you to read this and know I have no reason to reject you, or make you feel like you haven't given me every bit of you.

Simply put, I just love you, and I think... I'm ready.

What It Means To Say “I Love You”

© The Indy Miss 2016

What makes love different from "like"? What is the distinction? Why is there a need to correct someone if they "like" or "love" something? It's because "love" isn't just liking an object or person. It's acceptance. Of everything, whether good or bad.

Click to Tweet: Love... is about realizing that someone isn't perfect - and you're totally okay with that. #theindymiss

Love isn't just about the good times. It's about realizing that something, someone isn't perfect - and you're totally okay with that. On paper, it seems like the easiest and most logical thing to be able to do, but as we're human with flaws of our own, ego, pride, and self-centeredness get in the way and makes everything complicated.

Love isn't all just about that warm, fuzzy feeling you get when you experience your first kiss, your first trip together, your first year. Sometimes, love emerges when the world is dim, and you feel you've got no one who cares. Love is the assurance of knowing that in spite of whatever situation you're in, someone will be there to support you as best they can.

Click to Tweet: One thing is sure, and it's that if there's love, there's hope. #theindymiss

It's no guarantee that you'll always be in the clouds. There will be times that you'll be under them, and they will seem gloomy and dark. There will be rain and thunderstorms, sometimes for weeks on end. One thing is sure, and it's that if there's love, there's hope.

Work hard, and remain faithful. Faithful to your word, your actions, your belief, and your emotions. Don't blatantly try to hurt the other just because they might have forgotten an important day or simply missed to react to something you did or said in the way you expected them to. Humans fall, so forgive. Be patient. Love them.

Sometimes, love is painful, because it's showing you the truth. It's teaching you a lesson you'll need for the future. Let love correct you, and change you for the better. For what is water to a plant that refuses to accept its nutrients?

When I say "I love you" it means I accept every part of you. Things may not always be perfect for us, and there are situations that will spark doubt about our feelings for each other. Sometimes, you forget. Sometimes, I do too. But don't let these human flaws get in the way of something eternal and beautiful. Love doesn't stop the moment death catches hold of you. It goes beyond, above, and through.

Click to Tweet: True love begins when you see the ugliest side of a person and yet you choose to embrace even that. #theindymiss

My heart is bursting at the thought of a future we can have together, but we have to wait. Will you be patient to wait for me, or will you turn away to the next person ready? You've asked me twice to share forever, and twice I've had to turn you down for now. Will you tire of waiting for me?

I trust in love, and I trust you.

Please wait for me.

Brush Calligraphy Workshop by Bem Zenit

I just love it when hard work and passion pays off, and this time around, it's my friend Bem Zenit's (follow her on: Instagram) moment in the spotlight!

She held her Brush Calligraphy Workshop yesterday, Nov. 12, at Don Rodolfo's Café, owned by our friend Nick (check him out here). There were a total of 11 attendees, and I have to say if I weren't quite broke, I'd have participated, haha. On a positive note, my lack of funds allowed me to document her workshop with photos and a time-lapse of her going around and writing names of participants on their envelopes.

Why don't I just stop talking (um, writing?) and let the photos/video speak for themselves?




The workshop went on from 8AM-12NN and came with materials and lunch/snacks. These babies were so chill haha. Had fun going around and looking over their shoulders to see how they were doing.





Rodolfo's Café was the perfect place to hold this workshop too, with good food to top it off.


So earthy (in a good way)! Man. If only I lived nearer I'd be here during weekends. Just so happens that Starbucks is closer to home.

That's one item I can cross out of my short-term November goals list!!! Will update my post, Konnichiwa, November.

Bem will also be holding workshops in Manila! *Fan-girling* See the poster below and if you're near the area, please do consider joining her workshop! It'll be worth it, I promise! She also sells cute handmade items so check out her Facebook page: Bem Zenit.

source
Treat yourself to self-improvement or discovery of a new hobby. You'll get a great experience plus materials to keep working on your craft. I'm not making any promises, but if I had the chance, I'd be on a bus to Manila!

Lights Out: A Review


If you've heard about Lights Out, the Swedish short film released last 2013, then you must be one of those who, upon learning that they would be making a full-feature film in 2016, made sure that they would see it in the theaters and continue the story.

Just to give you a bit of a background, the short film was directed, shot, written, produced, and scored by David F. Sandberg and co-producer Lotta Losten, who also starred in the film. It only ran for 3 minutes, but the thrill, the "what would happen if" moments were ever present, leaving the audience wanting. The short won "Best Short" at the Bilbao Fantasy Film Festival in 2014 and in the "Best Director" category in Bcc Horror Challenge (the site might be down now, though).

Know more in their wiki here.

Here is the original video upload of Lights Out on Vimeo:

Lights Out - Who's There Film Challenge (2013) from David F. Sandberg on Vimeo.

It captured the internet and film industry by streams, and that resulted in its being created into a full-length film. Like I said, if you were already aware of the short, you would've sprung into action once the film came out in 2016. I did, and I enjoyed it for the most part. The other that was left begged for more depth, unfortunately, but we'll get to that later. I'll try to be as unbiased and as gentle as possible, with as much truthfulness as I can give without spoiling the movie.


The Plot / Story

Almost immediately, you're transported to the same situation the short had, only this time, it wasn't in a house but at some sort of apparel factory. You're given the iconic scenes presented during the short, and you're well aware that this won't last just 3 minutes. It sucks you right in and reveals who is doing the killing at the start and its weakness - light. Now, this fact they couldn't save for later as the short already gave the villain away, but what was most exciting was how they developed those 3 minutes into something more sinister. A creature with a history.

The short gave us no clue to what the creature (Diana) really was, why she was doing those horrible things, and what the random girl had done to deserve such a fright. They had all the time in the film to introduce us to a more textured character, one that at some point in time we might've sympathized with. It's always amazing how storytellers can craft a whole world from a few minutes of inspiration, and that is what they did with Lights Out.


The Ups

The thrill is there, the story was there, and the actors did a swell job of portraying their characters and their emotions. I'd say the casting team did their job alright. Nicely-shot angles, great lighting, and great choice in the house they used for the filming.

The Downs

The end was "meh". I feel like so much more could've been done at the end, and the film had the impression of being an extension of a short, not a full-length movie. It might just be me, but unlike cliff-hangers that leave you wanting more, Lights Out left me hollow.

Overall Rating: π π π π (4 "pies", haha)

What do you think of the film, and if you haven't seen it yet, do you plan to?



Konnichiwa, November!

What an awesome, awesome time it is to be alive. Just days ago, I was feeling like a rotten egg, not wanting to even acknowledge the fact that the end of the year is due soon. So many personal deadlines to make in addition to work, plus all the family gatherings I'll have to attend and be subjected to "ang *payat* mo parin" and "akala ko mag-aabroad ka na" questions... November and December are going to be insane.


I'm feeling quite better now, and seeing that it's the first of the month, it's time for a little updating and goal-making. First off, updating.

  • Within the last two weeks, I've been more active on social media (thanks to Halloween), especially on Tumblr, Instagram, and Ello. My Facebook Page is always updated - and now, I've got more than 1,000 followers! Although it's not about the numbers, it gives me comfort knowing that at least those many people feel my brand is worth following. I hope it only goes up from here. 
  • I scored my first major blog post sponsorship! I had been sponsored before, but the pays weren't cash, just tokens and products. This may not mean much to others, but it came at a time where I was really thinking about other gigs for my blog. Thanks Groupon!
  • I found a stable-enough part-time writing job online at onlinejobs.ph and it has been sustaining my planner addiction. Ah! I was offered by the same employer to do a more focused job with a higher monthly pay, but the tasks just weren't doable considering I am an employed graphic artist. 
  • Work has had some major events. So many options that I still can't wrap my head around it. The hardest thing is that I want to do everything being thrown at me. I know I can be a good this or a great that if I wanted to, but I can't handle all of them at the same time, especially when one job title requires a self-confident, reassuring project manager and another needs a really creative, nerdy artist. It's all good though, haha, if not a little frazzling.

These were major events that have impacted my decision-making for next year. I'm scared, unsure of the future and if I can make it after "The Decision", but I do have dreams to fulfill and an immediate family to support, so there's that.

As with normal people, I've got short-term goals for November. 
  • Finish Flor's album cover art (gift for her friend)
  • Start and finish my planned Christmas gifts for my boss and co-workers
  • Find the so-called "Planner Peace" (or else find myself bankrupt before the holidays)
  • Attend my friend's Brush Calligraphy Workshop (November 12th)
  • Buy back my DSLR (dammit)
  • Do one more Podcast around a really good horror story (Listen to the first one below)


  • Write a proper review on "Lights Out" (just watched it, have mixed feelings)
  • Reach 1,500 likes on my Facebook Page

The next part is making sure I achieve these goals. It won't be easy, but my fingers are crossed. I pray to God I accomplish so much more in the last two months of 2016 than I have been able to in the past ten. *Shivers*

I am so scared of 2017. 
And it's just November. 

Save Money on Sweet Deals at Groupon

If you're an avid online shopper like I am, there's no doubt you spend hours upon hours looking at a site and browsing what deals you can get to save money, while still getting what you came for in the first place. Yes, I also know how it feels like to have to sign up to a site and pay certain membership fees. Stressful, right? Thankfully, there's Groupon. (Though this is a sponsored post, please be assured that the opinions regarding the service are mine entirely.)

Groupon has so many goods I can literally spend hours just browsing and looking for sweet bargains (which there are a lot of). Aside from services like getting a mani-pedi or securing a discount coupon at your local restaurant, the site also offers Groupon Goods, physical items you can get at a great deal.

They've got clothes, electronics, jewelry, sports items, collectibles - just anything you'd expect to buy online. What shopper wouldn't want that? Even better, they have a Halloween Sale going on for the holidays so get right over and start shopping!

Monster of a Sale! Extended Today Only! Extra 10% off Home and Garden, Apparel and Accessories and More. Use Code SCARY. Exclusions apply. Shop Now. Gr.pn/promofaq for more details.

Personally, I think Groupon is doing it right. For one, their shipping and handling costs aren't over the top. Also, they have almost everything from services to physical items, to discounts at places people regularly visit, plus, the website's design is clear and focused. It's really easy to just pick a category and browse, or search for an item and see related items below it.

To know more, connect with them on Facebook and Twitter

Shop at Groupon this Halloween and get sweet deals. I'm 100% on board.






Listed: 5 More Cute & Functional Planners for 2017 (Part 2)

I'm back with another group of planners to satisfy your planner-addicted soul (which really doesn't happen because when we see one we like, "alam na this" happens). This is part two of a series I'm doing to help you choose the perfect planner for 2017, so if you're curious, go check out Part One here.

Also, just to give an update on what's been going on since the last time I wrote, I have succumbed to my inner planner demon. Since my last post, I have already ordered 3 planners (which I will keep a secret until I've exhausted all planner possibilities, haha) and there's no doubt I'll be adding more as the weeks go buy. I'm telling you, this addiction is going way out of hand. 


Back to topic. Today, we're covering planners that are either locally made or can ship to the Philippines, so you won't have to worry about finding one you like only to realize you'll need someone abroad to get it for you. Let's see if the one for you is on THIS list.


1. The Bliss Planner

I became familiar with this planner last year, and even though I already had the Starbucks one and the Kikki.k, I wanted to give it a try, but was put off by the lack of other color options. This year, though, they have come up with two of my favorites - black and pink. It's a hard choice between both, but my first love will always be pink.

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Just LOOK at those colors. Ugh. I cannot with life, haha. It's 6x9 in size, half an inch larger than an A5, so there's a bit more room to write to-do's that I never get done, haha.



The Bliss Planners cost Php 650.00 for the black, unisex version, and Php 850.00 for the pink feminine and the black masculine planners, excluding shipping costs (which don't cost much at all). 

Visit their shop today and order the Bliss Planners here: Bliss


2. Illustrated Faith Planner

Knowledge about this planner came by a post on Facebook which had appeared on my feed. I wasn't even looking for planners when I saw this, and thought, "Hey, looks like something I'd have fun using." A few minutes later, I was writing a message to the page to inquire about it.

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What I love about it is that it's designed for people who want a Christian planner, to say the least. It features inspirational messages and scriptures throughout the 18-month layout and has plenty of room to write about your thoughts and ideas.



I can definitely see myself using this planner for my daily devotionals rather than a normal 'to-do' or 'what happened today' log.

The Illustrated Faith Planner costs justs Php 1,750.00 for 18 months of journaling and reflecting. Quite a steal for the features.

Visit their Facebook Page to pre-order and see more images here: Illustrated Faith


3. The Happy Planner

Easily one of the more popular planner brands out there, and for obvious reasons. It's just SO cute, and comes with different ways to customize your planner (with dividers and/or stickers). Plus, it has a nice, vertical layout for jotting down notes during the week.

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Did I mention they also have a variety of cute cover designs?! How can you choose which one to pick? There's definitely one for everyone in this lot. While I haven't personally used a Happy Planner yet, I can tell by the layouts I see on IG that people who own one are incredibly happy with it.

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They sell for $19.99 for the Student Edition, $29.99 for the CLASSIC planners, and $34.99 for the BIG edition. I've seen resellers on Instagram that allow for pre-order and buy in bulk, so the shipping fee won't be too pricey.

Go to their website and order their planners here: Happy


4. Webster Pages Planner

Webster has a similar feel to Kikki planners, but they opt for more classic, solid colors and finishes. I especially love the Walnut and the Light Pink binders (as I should), and they always have such a clean, elegant feel to them.

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 Doesn't it just look divine? I have a major crush on this color (brown tints and shades) and I've wanted a planner like it for so long. They're cheaper than a Kikki, but that doesn't mean they compromise on quality. The feel and look of these Webster planners are so classic.


Like I said earlier, they have a certain elegance that puts them on the same shelf as a Kate Spade and a Kikki. Their prices vary depending on the type, if it's a TN, an A5 Kit, or just the binder itself. It costs between $32.00 to $59.99 from TN to the A5 so there are a few types to choose from based on your need.

Get your very own Webster Pages Planner here: Webster


5. Kate Spade Planner

Finally, we have one of the most well-known brands there is, which isn't contained to the planner world: Kate Spade. They have notebooks, planners, cups, tumblers, and more to their name, but for us planner lovers, we know them more for their very focused design on things.

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Their Cameron Street Agenda sells for $198.00 while the Cobble Hill Large Agenda is a dizzying $228.00, which clearly makes a statement. Kate is Queen among her zipped kind.

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Their normal planners range from $29.00 to $32.00, definitely a huge gap from their premium cousins.


Yes, it's too early to choose a planner to fill your dreams with next year, but do you have your sights on at least one on this list (or the previous one)? If it isn't (doubtfully), I'll be back with a third list soon. The more options, the better! (Or was it the other way around?)

Ciao!

Listed: 5 Cute & Functional Planners for 2017 (Part 1)

Nothing makes my day more than seeing cute, pretty things on my desk, more so if those "somethings" also help me organize the month and make me feel productive af.

To give you a brief background of my planner-love journey, I started collecting planners around 2014, when I discovered Filed.ph and Kikki.k (those were wonderful times). Ever since, I've fallen in love with the art of planning my life on cute organizers.

(Read: A Planner Addiction | My New Kikki.k Planner | Personalizing Your Starbucks 2016 Planner | FILED 2015 Planner | FILED 2014 Planner)

This year, I am in a DILEMMA. Ever since my awakening, I've eagerly hunted for other brands I could try out for the next years, and the list is far from short. I've reached brands based in Singapore, Sweden, The United States, and the UK just looking for new planner designs and features. Now, I am in the mood to purchase a planner for 2017. The question is, which one should I go for this time?

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My planner choice often depends on two major factors: aesthetics and features (regardless of size, though I'm not a fan of small/personal-sized ones). As of the start of October, I've come across planners which fit my needs.


1. Hobonichi Techo 2017 + Sherbet Cover

After I purchased the Kikki.k last year, I continued looking for planners. I joined a local Planner Facebook group where I could pre-order and buy planners and accessories and came across this Japanese brand.


I am in-love with the daily layout. It may look simple, but the possibilities are endless. With a lot of room to write about my day and include small stickers and photos (plus, the grids will allow me to do lettering without worrying about the margins), the Hobonichi is definitely one on my list. 



This planner costs around Php 2,032.00 (JPY 4320) rounded off for an A6, which is inclusive of tax. With shipping, a total of Php 2,689.41. Of course, there are local sites that bulk order the Hobonichi and therefore charges less for shipping and taxes. 

You may check out its features and other product photos here: Hobonichi


2. The Simplified Planner by Emily Ley

Her planner's cover designs are to-die-for, most especially because they have gold corners, has gold monograms (for your initials if you'd like) and has a layout that leaves plenty of room for doodles and notes.

The daily edition
They offer weekly and daily editions, and it's always a hard choice between the two, at least for me. The daily edition has gold rings and hard matte cover while the weekly edition has a leatherette cover. Both look premium too.

The weekly edition

Both editions are sold for $58 dollars (that's Php 2,803.00 rounded off, but it's worth every penny. I'm not sure how much it totals with shipping and tax, but for a premium, it's a price you'll have to be willing to spend.

Order your Simplified Planner 2017 here: Emily Ley


3. Design Your Life Planner by CNS Designs

Want an equally cute and functional planner but don't want to spend so much for shipping and taxes? CNS Designs is here for you, because it's a brand based in the Philippines and they offer incredibly awesome planners (also with gold corners!).


When I discovered their planners last year, I came close to regretting the Kikki.k (but of course, that would never happen - I love my baby), if only because I realized I could've gotten a planner with great aesthetics locally, for a way cheaper price (again, I'm not regretting buying the Kikki).

For just Php 550 - 595, you can get a planner that offers function and form. For it's price, one can afford all three and still have enough for Starbucks or a full meal at a restaurant. This year, I'm having a harder time deciding because of this brand in particular. Just look at its layout inside.



They've got really cute stickers too, and a no-tear pocket inside.


Pre-order your Design Your Life planner 2017 here: DYL Planner


4. FILED's Scribble & Keepsake Planner

Among the planners on this list, FILED's planners are the only ones I've used twice for two consecutive years. I just love their compact design and the ease of ordering from them, plus an option for getting your name customized by hand on the covers. This year, they've stepped-up their game with gold-foiled lettering and gold corners on the sleeve cover (like the others listed above).


They have two editions this year, the Scribble and the Keepsake planners, both with their own charm, purpose, and layout. I am leaning towards the Scribble more, but I love the dotted layout on the Keepsake.


Given it's price (Php 695 for the Scribble with Sleeve & Php 645 for the Keepsake with Sleeve), I am tempted to buy both editions (like I am with the DYL planners above) if only to get the best of both worlds. I currently have 5 planners which I use for different things, so I'm sure I'll find each one a purpose eventually.

I skipped their planners last year as I already purchased the Kikki.k, but I might go back to my first planner love for 2017.

Pre-order your Scribble and Keepsake planner here: FILED.ph


5. Livewell Flex Planner by Inkwell Press

I just discovered this brand today and I live for it. It has a hard cover, has SO MUCH FREAKING SPACE, has gold rings, a strap to hold things together, and a large inner back-pocket for anything you can fit in there, among other fantastic features.



I am living for this. The font and colors work great together, there's so much room for doodles and other reminders you might need to write - just everything I want a planner to be.


This is priced at $54 (about Php 2,609.53), and as if that isn't enough to give me a heart attack, they don't ship to the Philippines. This planner gets to be enjoyed only those living abroad (the US, UK, and other countries in Asia), but if you've got relatives living in any of these places, you can use their address and have it delivered to you from there.

You can also try ShippingCart to process your orders from any US online store (yes, even those which don't ship to Pinas) and have it shipped directly to you in the Philippines. They give you a virtual US address (like your personal PO Box/storage) and once you're ready to ship, just trigger their button and your goods will be on their way. I've used this a few times already and it has saved my life. Haha.

Get your Livewell Flex Planner here: Livewell


Product images © belong to the respective brands.

Do you have your sights on any of these planners? What brand should I include on my next planner list? Let me know in the comments!

Ciao, bellas!