My Diabetic Journey: Months 6-9 + Diabetes Awareness Month

Another three months have passed, and it was time to check up on my internals again. I underwent several blood tests as usual, and here are my results compared to the last three times. My previous blog posts from this series: here, and here.


My blood sugar continues to improve, and my cholesterol, HDL, and LDL are all within normal range. The troubling thing is still my triglycerides, which seems to be slowly creeping back up. Why is this an issue? Triglycerides are a type of fat/lipid in the blood, and is the form that the body converts extra calories to when you eat. It is similar to cholesterol in that they are both lipids found in the blood, but triglycerides are a storage of unused calories while cholesterol is used to build cells and certain hormones. If left untreated, high levels of triglycerides may lead to the hardening of the arteries or thickening of arterial walls, which will lead to an increased risk of stroke, heart attack, and heart disease. [source, source]

As with diabetes treatments in general, triglyceride levels can be lowered with lifestyle changes. More daily exercise, cutting back of calories, intake of healthier fats are some of the things I can do (and already do) to help manage my triglycerides and my diabetes in general. I was also prescribed a fibrate medicine for the triglycerides, as my levels are slowly creeping up into the “high risk” category.

I have also been a bit delinquent in the taking of my other medicine (the metformin combination). I am supposed to be taking it twice a day, but I usually forget the morning one because I rarely eat breakfast. My doctor says I need to be stricter about it if I want to see improvement. He also is more strict with the exercising, requiring me three times a week of cardio (I was only doing twice a week) and adding some lifting of small weights for building muscle.

This is the stage where I really need to be disciplined. I need to remember that my health is worth taking the effort to maintain, and it’s going to be more difficult to recover if I get worse or start developing complications. I need to work hard on it now, and I’m sure the future me will be thankful that I did.

Incidentally, it is also the National Diabetes Awareness Month in the US, but I felt that it is appropriate to write about it here as well. Here‘s a good resource for diabetics and their loved ones. This particular article is a great start if you want to know more about diabetes. Do check it out!

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Review: Macata TN by CNPapercrafts

The Macata Traveler’s Notebook remains one of my favorite TNs. I first got hold of it last September (haul post) and had a glowing first impression of the notebooks. How does it hold up two months later?


Pretty good, I would say. I absolutely love how the faux leather feels. It is properly stiff and holds its form quite well. Macata TNs are also naturally wide, even if you don’t get the “wide” size. I can fit quite a lot of inserts inside without overhang; 6-8 inserts is not too many.


The eyelets are set quite well, and the hole in the spine for the outside elastic is holding up nicely. My favorite is actually this Navy Blue passport size. The rounded corners, the silver eyelets, and the blue of the faux leather go well together really well. If it were only in field notes size, it would be perfect! (As it is, I am waiting for CN Papercrafts to restock their red leatherette so that I can get it in FN size.)


The faux leather seems to take a lot of beating without looking grubby, and I am pretty rough with the handling of my notebooks! As you can see here, there’s a couple of indentations on the bottom right corner. I really don’t remember where it came from, but I feel that it does not mar the overall appearance of the notebook.


I actually took the tan Macata and altered it. I really wanted a wide FN size to test out the idea of a chunky TN. I cut down the regular size TN into an FN size, punched another spine hole for the outside elastic, and (inexpertly) applied new eyelets.

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Here is the resulting chunky TN. I love it so much, that it became my daily carry since I altered it!

Do check out CN Papercrafts and check out their inventory and options!

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Planner Picks for 2016

Mid-November is a good time to decide which planner I am using for 2016, and I think most people are also making their own picks. I want to share mine to give my readers some ideas for their own choices.

For daily planning: Hobonichi A6

Image credits: Hobonichi official store
Image credits: Hobonichi official store

As seen by my back to basics planning challenge, I am doing quite well with the day-per-page format of planning. This convinces me that investing in a Hobonichi A6 is not a bad idea, and it will definitely not go to waste as this kind of planning works for me. A Hobonichi A6 planner goes for about Php1.8k at Scribe Writing Essentials. Definitely not an easy decision, but I really wanted to try out the system and the fabled paper quality and I have made enough research to justify the expense.

For blog planning: Traveler’s notebook – my own layout, or a monthly layout with notes pages


My current layout with my blog planner seems to work well for me. I have enough space to plan until January 2016 in my current insert. I might just continue with the same format which is not a bad idea since I have a lot of unlined inserts stocked. Or I could go with a monthly planner that has some weekly pages in between, or better yet, one that has notes pages in between months. I think there are quite a bit of options for this, and some might even be free!

For daily gratitude journaling: BDJ Petit Planner


I really liked how the Petit Planner is very similar to how the Hobonichi looks. The weekly layout gives just enough space for a daily gratitude list, which is something I wanted to try doing and 2016 seemed like a good place to start.

Runners up: CBTL Giving Journal, Filed Scribble or Doodle Planner, Midori Pouch Planner, Leuchtturm Planner

These planners are all on my wishlist for some time, and each of them have their own strengths. I will probably not get any of them (well, maybe one or two? haha) since to be honest the day-per-page system of the Hobonichi should be enough for my daily needs.

Which planner/s are you using for 2016?

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Memory Keeping in a Traveler’s Notebook: Monthly View

One of the things I’ve always wanted to try in a traveler’s notebook is memory keeping. Not just plain journaling of everyday events (which I already do in my daily journal insert), but rather something more visual and leans a lot towards scrapbooking. There are a lot of inspiration in this regard, especially in Instagram, and at first it was quite overwhelming. I eventually settled on a monthly layout and I aimed to have a photo-a-day kind of memory keeping.

As I did not know what type of memory keeping I really wanted to have in the long run, I opted to draw my own layout instead of printing a predesigned insert. I also wanted to maximize the space for each photo, so I ended up with a sideways layout. Each day’s box is approximately 1×1.5″ (3×3.5cm) which made it very easy to remember.

At the end of each week I would choose a photo from my camera feed for each day, crop each to fit the box, print them all out at once on plain printer paper, and carefully cut and paste them into the boxes. The labels for the dates were made from pre-punched shapes that I made out of watercolor paper and painted myself.


Here is how the whole spread looks like at the end of the month. I really like how it turned out! It gives me a nice visual overview of the month, and I can see generally what I thought stood out for me for that month. I added the washi tape at the top and in the empty boxes after I have done the whole month. Here are some close up of each page.

memorykeepingoct2 memorykeepingoct3

As an added memory keeping, I used the next spread for “October Highlights”. I made myself the rule to not reuse photos that I used for the dailies, and I didn’t limit myself to a particular number of photos. I just chose what I thought was really memorable for me for the month of October, cropped them down to a reasonable size, and printed them all out in one batch. I felt free to decorate with stickers, washi tape, and pens, and I am generally happy about how it turned out.


In conclusion, I really enjoyed this exercise, and I can see myself continuing doing this for the next few months. In fact, the insert I used has enough pages to go through an entire year! It would be fun to look back at a year’s worth of memories in a visual manner, so I’m quite excited about that!

What type of memory keeping do you do in a traveler’s notebook?

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Back 2 Basics Planning Challenge

For the month of November, I’m participating in the Back2Basics Planning Challenge by KateB of KateBTPS in YouTube. To know more about this challenge, take a look at this video:

If you don’t want to watch the video, let me give you a quick summary. The idea of the challenge is simply a no-decoration planning challenge, to demonstrate if we are able to plan without the expensive accessories such as stickers, washi tapes, and stamps. The terms of the (completely optional) challenge is as follows:

  • Weeks 1-2: Absolutely no stickers, no washi tapes, no stamps. However, you are allowed to use an unlimited amount of pens as you like, which you can use to draw your decorations, aside from actually planning with.
  • Week 3: Functional stickers and stamps are now allowed. Examples include water intake trackers, arrow stickers, etc. Washi tape is only allowed if they served a functional role, such as tabs.
  • Week 4: Decorating with stamps is now allowed, along with the functional stickers and stamps. The idea is to use only the items that can be reused.

At the end of each phase, assess how you felt. Were you able to actually plan without all the accessories? Were they actually just extras, or did you find that you could not plan without them? Did you feel like you did not enjoy the planning process without them?

I decided to try this for the month of November, primarily because I was also going to test out the Hobonichi-style planning and was starting with nearly a blank slate. I do feel like I have too many stickers and washi tape, and wanted to see if I can convince myself that I don’t need them to plan with. I am using a passport size Midori refill (unlined) for the whole of this month, on a day-per-page layout.


The monthly layout unfortunately already has a strip of washi tape. I had drawn out this calendar before I saw Kate’s planning challenge, but I would not let that bother me, and I don’t consider this stage a failure. I also had already put a sticker to denote an upcoming wedding, another strip of washi to denote the upcoming APEC event, and a sticker to denote a holiday.

back2basics2 back2basics3 back2basics4 back2basics5 back2basics6

Here are the rest of my planning pages for the first week. I’ve been quite comfortable with just using pens for planning, although I needed to change my approach to my coffee intake tracking. I wrote out the word “coffee” in block letters, and colored in two letters for each cup of coffee I drank. This is now equivalent to my usual stamping of three coffee cups in my previous layouts.

One of the things I felt weird about was all the blank space remaining after the planning parts. Where I would normally slather on stickers or washi tape or stamp away with my stamps, I just tried putting in some brush calligraphy practice. This made me feel better, and now I have all this space to go back to for more calligraphy later on.

I feel like I can comfortably continue on to the rest of the challenge without much difficulty, but I am definitely looking forward to being able to use functional stickers and stamps by Week 3! What did you think of this challenge?

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