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Taking notes in the Project Vanity x Estee Lauder makeup workshop

Posted in Uncategorized

A week ago I attended the Project Vanity x Estee Lauder makeup workshop hosted by Liz at her place. The makeup workshop was quite comprehensive, including both a guide to everyday skincare and a hands-on lesson on event-appropriate makeup. The model is the lovely Krissy of Krissyfied.


There were a lot of great tips that Liz shared in the workshop, and I wanted to make sure I remember them. As I have my planner-wallet with me at all times, I grabbed it and took notes in the planner half! My TN in this case is my Macata TN in passport size. I’d like to show you the notes I took.


The passport size is indeed a small size, but I find that it is enough space to take notes. The fact that it’s very portable and it is always with me ensures that I always have something to take notes in. I used my trusty Coleto to write with.


I don’t really mind that it may not be as neat as notes taken in a bigger notebook, as long as my notes are clear and understandable. A new thing I’ve tried recently is putting rough sketches in my notes, and I think it looks understandable given how quickly I sketched them out.

Check out the gallery below to see more photos of the workshop.

I hope you enjoyed looking at my notes!

Planners and Journals October Planner Kit

Posted in Planners, Stationery, and Unboxing

After sadly missing two months, I’m finally back to subscribing to the Planners and Journals Planner Kit! This one is the October kit and the theme is Bonjour! That’s right, the theme is very Parisienne and that is because this month’s guest artist, Cynthia Renard, also known as @lovecynthia on Instagram, contributed the artwork. Here’s a quick sneak peek:


As per usual, each Planner Kit comes in a brown kraft box which I absolutely love because I have tons of uses for it afterwards. Inside the box is the neatly packaged paper bag that holds all the contents.


Let’s see what we got! In the order of my favorites, first we have the one that sparked my interest. These are called wood veneers, which basically are bits of wood carved into cute shapes. These are usually for scrapbooking. These particular wood veneers seem quite thick and sturdy, which may not necessarily work with actual scrapbooking. I’m planning to turn them into paperclips or maybe planner charms, as soon as I find out which adhesives to use. My favorite among these is of course the coffee cup! By the way, these wood veneers are made by @windelwoodcraft.


My next favorite is actually this tassel. It’s not really an exceptional looking tassel, but I like the story behind it. These tassels are made by @tali_ti_amianan, a company that provides livelihood and sustainability to the local surfers, women, and elderly in La Union. Their work includes bracelets, woodwork, and metalwork. This tassel is now adorning one of my TNs.


My next favorite would have to be these cute ephemera and journal cards made by the Planners and Journals team. I always enjoy ephemera, which I normally turn into stickers. I might turn some of these into paperclips or even planner charms! The journal cards are always a welcome addition to my stash!

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I also like this cute little Cynthia doll made by Old Balara Livelihood Program. It’s just a simple pillow but it fits the overall theme quite well. My doll is now sitting on my office desk.


Planner stickers! How can I forget planner stickers? These ones are made by @theworldoffraffee, and these ones are glossy. I can’t wait to use them in my planner!


The other things items in the kit are the usuals from the Planners and Journals team. The cardstock are always a welcome addition, and I can always find uses for them. The inserts are definitely going to come in useful, especially since PnJ’s paper is quite topnotch. I really love the one with the Cynthia girl character, and the insides are a wonderful combination of a week-on-two-pages and a day-on-a-page layout! I might hoard this for a special month!

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Did you love this month’s kit as much as I do? I’m really happy with it, and I am excited to play around with my goodies! I subscribe to a trial kit (1 month) for regular size traveler’s notebooks and paid Php700. They have other kits for ringed planners but I’m not sure how much those cost. Interested in getting your own next month? Check out Planners and Journals at their Instagram and Facebook pages.

Other Pilot Pens That I Use

Posted in Pens

I am a self-confessed Pilot addict, and I’ve already showed you my Pilot fountain pen collection (here) and my Pilot brush pen (here). I actually have more Pilot pens other than that, and I wanted to highlight them today.


From top to bottom, these pens are the Pilot BP-S Fine, Pilot Coleto 3-ink Barrel, and Pilot Juice 0.5. These are mostly everyday pens and find use in my daily routines. The Pilot BP-S are typical office ballpens, and in fact are the ones that my office used to give out to new employees (they switched to another brand lately, boo). These are workhorses, and are pretty reliable. I have all three of the basic colors (blue, red, and black) and are stocked in my desk for easy access. Pilot BP-S pens are available in most bookstores. The Pilot Coleto is a multipen system and you can customize the colors of the ink. Barrels can be 3- or 4-slot ones, and mine is just a basic 3-slot one that I bought at National Bookstore along with a selection of ink colors. These are great with my traveler’s notebooks since I can just grab one of these and they’d have multiple colors already. Lastly, the Pilot Juice is a gel pen with a clicker mechanism, and writes quite smoothly and nicely. I use this for color-coding, highlighting, and general doodling for my planner and/or journal.



In terms of nib sizes, the Pilot Juice and Coleto inks come in different sizes. My Juice is in 0.5, but I’ve seen some that’s a finer 0.38. Coleto inks come in 0.3 (mine), 0.4, and 0.5 as far as I know, or at least the ones available in National Bookstore. The BP-S is just a standard ballpen and does not come in different line widths.



Here’s my writing sample. The Juice and the BP-S have approximately the same line width, so they’re probably both 0.5. The Coleto is noticeably finer at 0.3, which I absolutely love.

There you go! Just a short post sharing my other Pilot loves!

The Sunday Currently #16

Posted in Sunday Currently

With the new editorial calendar, I have determined that I can do one Sunday Currently per month and that it will probably happen on the last Sunday of every month. This way, I will not feel pressured to write about my personal life and at the same time I will probably have enough material to talk about for all the categories.



I’ve been on an Ayn Rand binge lately. I’ve attempted to read Atlas Shrugged before, but the small print on the book has always turned me off. Anthem and Ideal are not as thick and long as Atlas Shrugged, and I decided to start with that. I enjoyed both a lot although I like Anthem better, and I think I am ready to plunge into Atlas Shrugged again after this. If you’re not familiar with Ayn Rand, she is the one that developed the philosophical system Objectivism.


Lists, particularly my hobby wishlist. I’m instituting a “tiered” wishlist, where basically I divide the items into tiers. The idea is that if I have money to spare for my hobbies, I will be prioritizing buying the items in the top tier first. Once all of the top tier items are bought, I can then start looking at the next tier items. The idea is that I will not go crazy with buying stuff, and I can cross check if I really want an item or not. So far it’s been going fine, and I’ve managed to curtail my spending and also cross off a few items from the list.


I’m not sure when I discovered Lindsey Stirling, but I’m now hooked! She mixes two of her passions: violin and dancing! My favorite remains Master of Tides, although she has a lot of other beautiful and engaging songs.


Image credits: Heneral Luna Facebook page
Image credits: Heneral Luna Facebook page

I cannot say enough about Heneral Luna. It’s one of the best Filipino movies ever made, and one of the top five movies of all time in my book. It tells the story of the fiery General Antonio Luna, the head of the Philippine military at the time of the Philippine-American war. The movie is funny, irreverent, and does not shy away from the horrors of war, and is really a much better history teacher than the one I received in school. I’m planning to see it again!



Have I ever mentioned that I (and my husband) are boardgame players? The latest one we’ve played is Argent, The Consortium. The idea here is that you play as an eligible candidate to the chancelorship of a magic university, and you are trying to gather votes from a mysterious board of regents. It is a worker placement game where you place your mages in certain rooms so that you can take certain actions, which in turn lets you gather certain things that will convince members of the board to vote for you. It’s very fun and engaging, and the components of the game are well made.


I’m changing up the Cooking category to Creating. I don’t foresee myself cooking anytime in the near or far future so there’s no point to it. Instead, I do find myself on a roll in the creating department. In this case, I’ve discovered an interest in zentangles! It’s basically a doodling form where the use of repeating patterns is a feature. The materials used are just paper and a pen, that’s it! Here is my first attempt at zentangling.

My first attempt at zentangling. A very soothing pastime actually!

A photo posted by Becoming Sleek (@becomingsleek) on


I’ve been thinking about the psychology of hoarding recently. I really don’t like the fact that I have quite a bit of stuff for my hobbies, and yet I still feel the “need” to buy even more stuff. I need to find a way to use up my stuff first before getting more. Have you heard of the KonMari method of organizing? I might try this some time to declutter and keep only the things that I want.


The busy season of my work has begun, so now I’m really wanting some extra time. I’ve been coming home really exhausted that I just fall asleep, only to wake up and do the same thing. Weekends have never looked so good!


Excited! I’ve been trying to gather some things that are slowly coming together, which for sure I will be sharing with you here soon enough!


September Traveler’s Notebooks Setup

Posted in Planners, and Traveler's Notebook

As September is coming to a close, I thought I’d do a quick share of how my traveler’s notebooks were set up for this month. Let’s start with my Macata personal in navy blue.

This TN holds my commonplace book and my weekly planner. It also holds various accessories such as pockets and sleeves for some journaling cards, stickers, and my car repair records. There is also a last tiny notebook that records my hobby expenses and my weight.

My second TN is the Midori Blue (regular size).

This TN holds three notebooks: a project planner, a monthly calendar to track my daughter’s school activities, and my daily journal. Accessories include two full-length pouches that hold a ton of stickers. Also included are a couple of writing boards.

Lastly, my newest TN is the Midori Black (regular size).

This one holds my blog planner, my washi tape catalogue, and my work log. It’s currently pretty thin as it has no accessories (no pouches, etc.). I actually like how thin it is!

This is how my traveler’s notebooks were set up for the month of September. Not shown is my current setup for my TN wallet, which is currently undergoing some changes. I will share a setup post once it’s done. I wanted to share this now because I will probably be changing this up for October. I mentioned briefly that I wasn’t exactly satisfied with my weekly planner, so that’s going to be adjusted at the start of the new month.

Craft Case Update + Companion

Posted in Crafting, and Stationery

About a month and a half ago I shared my the contents of my craft case. I want to update you on what changed.


Actually not a lot. Mostly just the pens (I switched out my blue body Coleto for the clear body, and added the Pilot Petit1 FP) and added a new set of washi samples.


The main change is in the additions to the outer pocket. I put the older washi sample card here, and replaced my single magnetic cat bookmark with two other magnetic bookmarks and two metallic paperclips. Not a lot of changes, really. But what I really wanted to show you is my newest acquisition: this companion craft case of the same pattern! I now have matching craft cases!


This bigger craft case is of the A5 size, and has a velcro closure instead of a zipper.


It’s a trifold, and has four zipped clear pockets inside. As it’s a velcro-closure case, it has some leeway to insert some things outside of the actual clear pockets.


I have decided on this very nondescript A5 notebook by Ilycraft, which is thin and has nice cream paper. I use it as an art notebook of sorts, where I practice my lettering, brush calligraphy, and watercolor. Prior to this I actually had a small coloring book (and the accompanying plain colored pencils) but this piece by Liz made me realize that I can make my own, so here we are!


The contents of the actual pockets vary, but this is a good representation of what’s usually in there. On the rightmost biggest pocket I have a handpicked selection of my Faber-Castelle watercolor pencils. In the three smaller ones I have a pack of Target page flags, three Stabilo fineliners, a small paintbrush, a Sakura Micron marker, a small craft scissors, a paperclip, a pack of sticker flakes, and a strip of leather that goes with my Macata traveler’s notebooks.


I really like the combination of this and the smaller craft case. I don’t, however, bring both of them along everywhere I go as they can be heavy and bulky. If I knew I would just be doing planning and/or journaling, I would bring only the smaller case. If I knew I would have time to practice, I would bring the bigger case. If I knew I would have a good amount of time and the space to spread my stuff (such as my office) I would bring both!

For my local readers, I found both of these in National Bookstore. For everyone, I will be giving out one of the smaller craft case through my Instagram soon, so watch out for that!

Evolving Planner Layouts

Posted in Musings, and Planners

Do you use a paper planner? If yes and you’re anything like me, you probably went through several planner layouts and formats before you found “The One”. Or in point of fact, you’re still on the journey to finding it. Over several years I went through different variations of planner, and I wanted to show you how it evolved into my current layout.


Prior to planning in traveler’s notebooks, I used to dig the bound planners. For several years I alternated between Starbucks planners and BDJ planners, but I found that I really didn’t use them as much as I wanted to because it was bulky and heavy. Sometime late last year, I decided to splurge in a Moleskine pocket planner for the portability.


Back when I was still planning with the Moleskine Weekly Planner in Pocket size, I used a week on one page with notes on the opposite page. This actually sufficed me for about three or so months.


Around this time I got introduced to the idea of traveler’s notebooks. I was taken by the idea that it was very customizable, including whatever planner book I wanted to use. I got myself a Field Notes-sized traveler’s notebook from Alunsina, and I basically just used the same format as the Moleskine weekly. This carried on until I moved into my first Midori, the brown passport size.


At some point I felt very constrained by planning in the small size of the Midori passport. When the opportunity presented itself, I got myself the Midori Blue (Pan Am Edition), which only comes in regular size. The big jump from a passport to a regular size unseated my somewhat standard format (horizontal weekly with notes). I first explored a day-on-two-page format.


I felt like I couldn’t really plan properly with so much space, and there seemed to be a lot of wasted paper. I was planning on switching to a day-on-one-page such as this Hobonichi-inspired one.

Image Credits: Marsia Bramucci Etsy

For some reason I didn’t really get to try that, but instead went straight to a vertical weekly layout (Erin Condren style). I found that I really enjoyed planning on this format, and I felt a little bit back on solid ground since I am using a weekly again.


Around this time I also started adding monthly views. This was ideally so I can do a passable future planning, but I ended up just using it to record memories instead of planning in it.


The regular size was great, but I really couldn’t bring it around in my purse, which meant that I was leaving behind my planner somewhere else. Eventually I felt that I needed to have my planner with me at all times, so I explored the new personal size of traveler’s notebooks. I went back to the week-on-one-page-with-notes format since that was the only free printable available, and found out that it actually still works pretty well for me.


This is where I’m at right now, a horizontal week on one page with a gridded notes page on the opposite side which holds my task list. To be honest I still don’t feel quite at peace with it yet, and might switch out to yet another format eventually.

Planner Decoration Materials: A Primer

Posted in Pens, Planners, and Stationery

To be honest, I didn’t think I was a planner decorator. It does not really seem necessary to the planning process, but I find that it helps me be more inspired and excited for the coming weeks if they are decorated and prepared ahead of time. I also consider it an avenue to express creativity, which is always a healthy thing. My decorations are quite modest I would say, and I try to keep them as utilitarian as possible at the same time as being pretty.


That said, I wanted to share with you the materials I usually end up using for planner decoration. This serves as a guide for someone just starting with decorating their planner and have no idea what to use.



I am a color-coder by nature, so colored pens are a necessity. I’ve gone through many brands and types of colored pens. Right now I am very happy with the Pilot Coleto system (the bottom one in the photo above), which is a refillable pen and many colors are available. I have two of these three-ink barrels right now, which means I have six colors to play with. I also use fountain pens regularly, although recently I’ve been sticking with just the Coletos for my planner. I also use the Pilot Petit3 brush pen in my planner, but mostly with the function of a highlighter.

Washi Tapes


Washi tapes are all the rage these days. It’s basically just a type of tape that you can tear manually with just your hands (so plastic tapes like Scotch or cellophane tapes are not washi), but different from paper tapes in terms of quality. MT is a popular Japanese brand that may have started it all (don’t quote me on that!) and a brand that I am recently starting to appreciate. I mostly use washi tape to decorate the sides or borders of my layouts, but I’ve also used it to cover up some mistakes.

Planner Stickers


Planner stickers are a particular family of stickers that are designed to be used in, well, a planner. These are usually in the form of flags to mark or highlight events, lists to hold lists, and icons to denote specific and usually recurring events or chores. A lot of planner sticker designers make really cute sets and even have themed ones, making it really easy to decorate a planner layout.

Sticky Notes


For me, sticky notes are almost like planner stickers since a lot of sticky notes are really cute. I consider this as a very temporary type of decoration, and won’t usually contribute to an overall planner layout “design” unless I take a permanent glue and stick them down. I use sticky notes for events that are not yet scheduled in, or for tasks that I’m not really sure when I’d be able to finish. I also use these as a temporary list holder. Not pictured here are the page flags type of sticky notes, those that are meant to be seen beyond the page to serve as a page marker.

Stamps and Inks


I consider stamps and inks to be a little on the advanced side in terms of planner decorating. Rubber stamps have been around for a while, but I’ve recently discovered clear stamps and fell into another hole. This particular clear stamp set is quite overused in my planner but it’s really appropriate and I love how they look. I think it’s not really necessary for planning, since stamped words can be written with a pen and stamped images probably have sticker equivalents somewhere. I actually just enjoy playing around with them and they are really quite cute!



Finally we have clips of all kinds, the more common of which are binder clips and paper clips. You can see right away that these are pretty cute and definitely decorative. I use the bigger binder clips to hold open my pages both when I’m actually planning and also when I’m taking photos of my planner. I use the smaller binder clips and the paper clips to actually mark pages such as the current week and current month.

There we go! I hope you got some ideas on what materials you can use for planner decorating. For ideas on how these materials are actually used to decorate planner layouts, you can check out my previous layout posts.

A Beginner’s View of Brush Calligraphy

Posted in Crafting, and Pens

Brush calligraphy is a calligraphy style that uses a brush pen. A brush pen is a pen with a brush or a brush-like tip. As with pointed-pen calligraphy, the downstrokes are made thick by pressing down on the pen and the upstrokes are thinner by only using the lightest of touch to make the line.


There are now a lot of locally available brush pens. The ones I currently own are in the photo above. From left to right they are: Pilot Petit3 in Baby Pink; Zig Scroll&Brush in Orchid, Baby Pink, and Black; Zig Kuretake Fudebiyori in Blue and Gray; Zig Kuretake Fudebiyori Metallic in Green; Zig Cocoiro Letter Pen Extra Fine in Mint Green, Black, Bordeaux, and Sepia. These are a very meager sample from a lot of other available pens, and in fact I only have a sample size of two brands (Pilot and Zig). Watercolor is also a great medium to do brush calligraphy with!


Here are written examples of each type of brush pen. The Cocoiro Extra Fines make the finest lines, followed by the Petit3, while the Fudebiyori and Scroll&Brush are very broad. I find it really hard to use the broad tips as you can see in the writing above. It looks a lot messier compared to the two fine brushes. The Petit3 is slightly easier to use even though it has an overall shorter body because the tip is very forgiving.


I’m not really an expert in brush calligraphy, but I try to practice regularly. I like doing short and simple (and encouraging!) messages and I also keep a collection of inspiring quotes to practice with. If all else fails, I resort to doing song lyrics!


A lot of the times I also make use of brush calligraphy in my planner (as decorative headings) and journal. I have also attempted using it for hand lettering such as the one below, although I don’t have very many of those yet. For other examples of my work, check out my Instagram.


How did I get started on brush calligraphy? I actually started with pointed-pen calligraphy (I attended Eula’s workshop!) but found that I could not find the time to sit down and do it nor the patience to fiddle around with bottled inks and tiny nibs. More recently I got to attend a mini brush calligraphy workshop by Mimai (Instagram) and found that I really enjoyed it and found it more to my style and liking. I bought a few more brush pens to play around with, and I now have a long wishlist of more pens to try!

Recently I stalk many brush calligraphers on Instagram for inspiration (Aina, Oceanchelle, The Word Affair, Oats, Paola, The Paper Cat, Mommy Lhey, Clair), and The Postman’s Knock and The Fozzy Book are also great resources.


Midori vs Fauxdori

Posted in Musings, Planners, and Traveler's Notebook

There is a lot of (in my opinion, unnecessary) debate regarding Midori vs fauxdoris. Before I delve into the actual argument, let me first define the terms. “Midori” refers to a particular Japanese brand of traveler’s notebook, and also makes several supporting products such as various types of refills, standalone notebooks, stickers, and the like. “Fauxdori” is a blanket term generally used to define traveler’s notebooks that are not made by Midori.


Now what is the issue? Since the Midori brand of traveler’s notebook has been successful in the recent years, the term midori is often misused to mean traveler’s notebook in general, or a specific non-Midori brand traveler’s notebook. It’s not uncommon to find people talking about their “midori” only to find out that they were talking of another brand. Midori purists are pissed because of course only Midori-branded items should be called Midori. In fact, I think it was they that coined (or at least made popular) the term “fauxdori” to refer to other-branded traveler’s notebooks.


On the other hand, fans of other brands of traveler’s notebooks, especially the more popular and successful ones, are not happy with the term “fauxdori” either. Faux, by definition, means something that is not genuine or is fake, or more kindly, made in imitation. The unfortunate connotation is that being faux means being inferior, which is definitely not the case for many, if not most, makers of traveler’s notebooks.


The problem with the opinion of the Midori purists is that it leads to exclusive thinking. It’s as if they want only Midori-brand traveler’s notebooks to exist, and all the rest cannot possibly compete with “the original”. Perhaps it will also lead them (and the spectators) to think that Midori does not have any shortcomings. There is no perfect product, as far as I can tell, and Midori is no exception. And it is in these shortcomings that the other companies are finding their niche.


In my opinion, there is enough room for these other companies and more. As long as TN users are not finding their “perfect” notebook among Midori’s current offerings, then it is not reprehensible for them to buy from the others. Perhaps they want a different size than the two Midori choices; or maybe they want other colors; or even that they don’t want leather at all and would like some other material such as cloth or felt; all of these are valid options that makers already offer.

Now I own several Midori TNs as well as a few non-Midori TNs, and I am happy with both. There are areas where the Midori TNs are meeting my needs, such as having non-floppy material and being tolerant and even welcoming of rough handling. Then there are areas where I find my needs being met by other brands, such as different colors and sizes and generally being more affordable. I don’t think that there is a “best” brand, and each user should be able to find their desired notebook style in today’s market.

Disclaimer: None of these facts are backed by data. I have just been observing people’s different viewpoints in the various TN-related Facebook groups that I am part of, and drew my own conclusions from there. Thank you for reading.

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