Planner Picks for 2018

So. It’s that time of the year again! Time to decide on my planner system for next year.

For reference, here are my thought processes for deciding my planners for 2016 and 2017. To summarize what actually happened, I have been using the Hobonichi Weeks rather consistently for most of 2016 and 2017. I really do enjoy the format of the Hobonichi Weeks, and certainly the Tomoe River paper is a big factor too. At some point though, I noticed that I tended to leave my Weeks at my work desk, and barely look at it when I take it home for the weekends. Perhaps it turns out that the Weeks was still too big and bulky.

In the past few weeks I transferred my planning to the Hobonichi A6 Weekly Calendar (a supplemental book for the Hobonichi Techo A6), which is actually only slightly wider than a pocket size insert. It is quite the adjustment because the days of the week are oriented vertically, and for the past two years I’ve been using a horizontal planner. I was worried that there would not be enough space for my daily tasks or my weekly task overviews. So far though I have not yet encountered any space issues. I still get the Tomoe River paper goodness and the fact that I get a whole year in one book. I have already ordered the 2018 Calendar.

 

On the other hand, the Weeks makes me really nostalgic. I love having everything in one book, including my collections, a monthly layout, and most importantly my bullet journal. None of the current designs for the Weeks really calls to me (not like the Meow), but if I had to choose I would get the Coffee Bean one.

Image credits: Hobonichi 1101.com

One of the reasons I fell off the Weeks was because I ran out of notes pages at the back, and had to transfer the bullet journal to a Weeks supplementary notebook (which is similar, but is still a separate book from the main planner). Of course, this year Hobonichi had to introduce the Mega Weeks, the same Weeks but with that crucial upgrade from 72 pages to something like 212 pages! If I got this, I would not be encountering the same issue with running out of pages for the bullet journal. It would definitely be thicker and heavier though, which means it might devolve into a desk planner anyway. I have to admit, the FOMO (“fear of missing out”) is strong with the Mega Weeks.

Image credits: Hobonichi 1101.com

My default choice so far is going with the Hobonichi A6 Weekly Calendar, which I am going to be treating as a pocket insert in a pocket TN. I can pair this with any number of my inserts, but definitely there will be at least one other insert that will become my bullet journal. This setup will be light and portable, and I can see myself using this all the time since it will be with me everywhere. It will also be the cheapest option, since the only thing I will be buying is the 2018 Calendar. The TN and the inserts are already things I own, and in fact I lean heavily with this option because of that. Granted, there is some sunk costs with the Hobonichi Weeks (thinking here of the custom Jaquie Ang cover which did not come cheap), but I’m not too concerned with that and anyway I’m not sure if the Mega Weeks will fit in there.

 

 

Blog Updates

 

Hi! Checking in after a long hiatus!

What’s been up? I’ve been pretty preoccupied with work stuff recently that I had no time to update and post to the blog. I’m learning R and really enjoying the return to data science (I did a lot of this back in undergrad). I’m still quite addicted to stationery, traveler’s notebooks, and all that, and in fact I continue to use my stuff and adding quite a bit to my stash! While I was busy, I still found the time to post to my Instagram, so do follow me there as well!

What’s in store for Becoming Sleek? I’m going to resume posting with a quick review and walkthrough of my new A5 TN, followed by what I’ve been subscribing too lately. I’ll also be resuming with my reviews of traveler’s notebooks and stationery (boy have I got a lot to catch up on!).

Thank you for keeping me in your feeds! I’ll be posting the A5 TN soon after this, so watch out for it!

 

 

Becoming Sleek 2016 Year In Review


Becoming Sleek has become (sleek?) a fully fledged planner and stationery blog in 2016, which is just the way I wanted it. It’s time to take a look back at the year that has been.

Monthly Highlights

January saw me acquire my second Zenkraft, snagged during the holiday sale. February continued the acquisition trend, and I finally got my long-awaited pocket TN in my favorite Gav and Sav cat print, and in March I got a Hobonichi branded cover in Framboise Chocolat. April saw me getting my first Hobonichi Weeks which turned out to be my ideal planner. May was very eventful blogwise, for it was then that I got the Midori Camel passport and mini as well as my first Chicsparrow, and I finally finished my blog series on traveler’s notebook features. I went on a beach vacation in June and of course I brought along my planner stuff. More acquisition in July, this time a custom cover for the Weeks by Sunday Leather Craft. August is when I started considerably posting less due to an increased workload, but I was able to talk about a pen loop substitute for planners and journals. In September I was seriously considering which planner system to use for 2017, which I ended up deciding in favor of the Weeks in November when I realized I had achieved planner peace with it. And finally in December, I rounded out a year of acquisitions with my most extravagant purchase of a matched pair of Weeks cover and pocket TN by Jaquie Ang.

Blog Statistics

Overall this is awesome growth for my little planner blog! While the yearly post count is practically the same, I received twice the amount of pageviews both in total and in average per day, all thanks to you my wonderful readers!

What’s Coming in 2017?

2015 has been quite a year of acquisition and the trend sadly continued all throughout 2016, and honestly there are still a few more packages that are coming in from purchases in the last few weeks of the year. I am determined to streamline my collection and keep only those that really makes me happy. One of my goals is to use what I have, not only in terms of traveler’s notebooks but in all things hobby related, so expect more review posts for stationery and a lot of Hobonichi Weeks planner posts.

Sakura Gelly Roll Gel Pens + Blog Update

Let’s start with the important part: these wonderful pens!

Sakura Gelly Rolls are pretty much well known in the pen universe as good, nay, great, gel pens, and I’ve always wanted to try them out. After checking several places, I finally found a Sakura stand at SM Stationery (SM Makati). I helped myself to one of each type of Sakura Gelly Roll available. The best part? Each is just ~Php50 each!

sakuragellyrolls1

The pens are all in the same general slim, translucent barrels, with a round-ended cap and the distinctive Gelly Roll branding. The caps vary depending on the pen type. The ones I was able to try are (from top to bottom, above): Classic (in blue), Gold Shadow (in green), Metallic (in gold), and Stardust (in red). The Classic has a matte solid colored cap and nothing on the clip. The Gold Shadow has a sheeny solid cap with gold glittery stars on the clip. The Metallic has gold sparkles on a translucent cap and nothing on the clip. Finally, Stardust has a clear cap with silver sprinkles and a comet stamped on the clip. The butts of the pens also differ: the Classic and the Metallic have colored butts while the Gold Shadow and the Stardust have white/translucent butts.

sakuragellyrolls2

The pen tips are all pretty thick, I’d say at 1mm for all except the Classic which comes in 0.5mm. Normally I would shy away from such thick nibs but for such interesting gel pens I’m pretty okay with 1mm.

sakuragellyrolls3

How do they write? Pretty smoothly, and glides nicely especially on good quality paper such as the Rhodia lined pad above. The Gold Shadow and the Metallic have shiny sheeny ink, which would go nicely on things like greetings cards and gift tags. The Stardust has silver glitter in the ink and is super pretty as well! The Classic is a great generic gel pen that writes just as smoothly as the rest.

 

The sheen in the three non-Classic Gelly Rolls

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I fell immediately in love with the Metallic the most, and bought myself some extra colors to use in gift tags for the coming holidays. I’ve also seen a Sakura Gelly Roll stand in Scribe stores, so you can go buy yours there!

 

Blog Update

It’s been quite barren in my blog for a while, and this is due to several life things that got in the way. My rule has always been to deliver good quality posts, even if it takes some time, as opposed to delivering mediocre posts in a more regular posting schedule, which is what happened here. Right now, I think I’ve been finally been able to catch up with life and should now be able to resume my regular posting of stationery and planner goodness, so do watch out for that! As it is, I’d like to thank you all for sticking around and for your continuous support.

 

Planning Dilemma: Hobonichi Weeks Vs Pocket Planning

I am honestly having a lot of trouble with my planning system right now, and not because it’s not working. It actually works! I find that I work best with a weekly view, with the days of the week on one side and a notes page on the opposite side. My dilemma is as follows: I am a huge fan of Hobonichi Weeks, and I’ve found a great planning system with its weekly views and the other features of the planner. In fact, I was able to spend about five months of continuous planning in it.

hoboafter3months2

On the other hand, I have recently discovered that I work just as well with the pocket size version of the Hobonichi Weeks. And by this I mean the weekly planner insert of CN Papercrafts works really well for me. As long as I have an accompanying bullet journal to help document my days, I can use with the smaller amount of space for my day to day planning needs.

macatasetup4

Now that the 2017 release of Hobonichi has come out, I am starting to again think that the Weeks is the planner for me. The moment I saw the Meow Meow Meow Weeks, I felt a really huge pull to get it (the cats were such a tease too!). To make things even harder for me (or easier, depends on how you look at it), there are several merchants who offer preorder service so I don’t really even have to mess with customs or post office. Perhaps the only disadvantage of this is the relatively steep price of the Weeks to begin with. It’s really quite the investment.

Image credits: 1101.com
Image credits: 1101.com

On the other hand again, I have a tremendous amount of pocket TNs that will remain unused. For the most part, I only haveĀ one in active use; maybe two at most, if I am feeling a lot of writing mojo. If I used the pocket size weekly planner insert as my main planner, then I would be able to really put into use my pocket TNs and it would justify the original purchase of them instead of just sitting pretty on the shelf. At least this way too, I don’t have to shell out a huge amount of money for planning for next year, since my current insert can handle 7 months already. If I really stretch, I could even use up my pocket insert stash and hand-draw the weekly layouts myself!

Pocket TNs, charms, and a lone fountain pen

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I’m not really sure what I should do! What do you think?

 

The Sunday Currently #26

It’s been such a busy month for me, and it reflects on the blog through lessened posts. I hope I can ramp it back up to my usual three posts per week, but I can’t guarantee it. Aside from an increased workload, I have also rescued another kitten and this one is already problematic from the start. I hope it survives; I’ve already fallen in love with it.

Reading

cyanabadjugobooks1

As it’s been a busy month, I was only able to read these two books by Cyan Abad-Jugo: Letters from Crispin and Yaya Maya and the White King. I stumbled upon them in National Bookstore and I was intrigued. My instincts were correct, and they turned out to be really good books. Meant for kids around 10 years old, these are short stories centered around kids the same age that deal with family, growing up, and other similarĀ matters. They also feature interesting facets of Philippine culture (history and lore) that are the core of the stories. Written in English, these are perfect for giving as gifts to foreign friends as well as anyone with reading-age kids. I can’t wait to read the other two books in the set!

Watching

No movies this month, but we did get to continue watching Jessica Jones. We’re now up to the 8th episode I think, and the story is really getting along now. I also just saw the trailer for the new Netflix series, Luke Cage, and I’m excited! Luke is a regular in the Jessica Jones series, and I like him there, so I’m looking forward to seeing him in the lead.

Playing

I have officially quit playing Spellstone for now, primarily because it’s such a RAM hog. It was eating up about 70% of my RAM and it was becoming ridiculous. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the game and it’s really an excellent card game, but my current phone cannot play it anymore.

With itsĀ removal I was able to get quite a bit of new mobile games. Of course there’s the ubiquitous Pokemon Go, which is not really all that great on my phone either because my GPS sucks. I also finally bought Monument Valley; it’s been on my wishlist for a long time. It’s a brilliant minimalist puzzle game that makes use of perspective and M.C. Escher type environments and it’s really quite engaging. Unfortunately it’s very short, only 10 levels, but I think it’s well worth it. I will probably buy the sequel as well. Lastly, for quick brainless fun I also installed Disney Emoji Blitz which is just a match-3 game but I got it since it’s Disney and it’s full of cute emoji and it’s free to play.

Feeling

I’m feeling quite confused recently. As you have seen I switched to my Dark Brown Macata as my main planner/wallet, from being in the Hobonichi Weeks for about five months. I really enjoy the pocket size, and it’s great since my main TN collection is in that size; not to mention I’m really enjoying the new system of a weekly planner and bullet journal. The new Hobonichi release for 2017 just came out September 1, and I am very tempted to get the pink cat Weeks as well as a few accessories, but that means that I’ll be again not be using the pocket size. It’s a dilemma!

 

The Sunday Currently #25

Welcome to another edition of Sunday Currently! How are you all doing? It’s been a pretty long and stressful month, but I’m happy that I was still able to do some fun things.

Reading

Sabriel by Garth Nix – The first in a trilogy about the journeys of a necromancer named Sabriel. She is not your normal everyday evilĀ necromancer, but she’s a necessary one to keep the Dead, well, dead. It’s a really well-made world and the writing is very compelling. I really liked how different the approach is to necromancy in this book, and I’m excited to finish the rest of the series.

sabriel

Ultimate Comics Spider-Man Vol. 1: The World According to Peter Parker – A version of Spider-man where a lot of other notable superheroes appear and Spider-man himself is a young teenager. It’s a pretty interesting world and maybe in another time I would have wanted to see what happens, but I’m at the stage where I want a nicely packaged story where I don’t have to wonder about things too much. That’s mostly my problem with ongoing comics runs; it’s hard to drop in the middle of it and be engaged.

ultimatespiderman
Image credits: Amazon.com

Watching

Alice in Wonderland and Alice Through The Looking Glass – In preparation for the second movie, my family watched the first one which we missed. I have to say, I’m pleasantly surprised about both movies. I really like how Alice was presented, although the “real” world in which she lived in seemed unrealistic where she was acting pretty much like an independent woman of current times, except that was back in maybe the 1900s. Regardless, I enjoyed it a lot and feel really bad that the reviews of the second film aren’t so good.

Ghostbusters – Oh man, where do I start? This turned out to be such an amazing film and super enjoyable to watch. The tone was quite feminist, almost to an extreme (like what the f is that thing with Chris Hemsworth??), but it does bring up a lot of interesting conversation especially with my daughter. I really like that this is what she grows up with, and emphasizes the idea that she can be whatever she wants, with hard work and determination.

Jessica Jones – My husband and I watched the first episode, and my immediate reaction is curiosity. There’s not really a lot of things that I end up knowing by the end of that episode, and it did make me want to watch more. Unfortunately this show is quite adult (sex and violence) and it can only be watched if the daughter is not in the house. That’s going to make it a bit challenging to continue watching, which is the same difficulty we encountered when trying to watch Daredevil.

Eating

Currently enjoying the Carbonara Longganisa of Coco Hut. It’s very creamy and comes with a perfectly poached egg. As a pasta lover, this is pretty awesome!

 

Wanting

More free time, honestly! I still have quite a long list of personal things I want to do (such as read books and crafting) but I find that I run out of time in the weekends trying to catch up on lost sleep on the weekdays. Sigh.

Feeling

I’ve been feeling very confused recently. Right now, I’m very happy about my current planning system in the Hobonichi Weeks and also quite happy that I can combine it with my wallet system because of the SLC custom cover. However, I keep thinking that my chosen TN size is still pocket, and I really wish I could have the Weeks in pocket size. I have a big collection of pocket TNs, and it’s a shame that I can’t use them to plan with. I am quite reluctant to start another collection in personal size, just so I can have variety in my Weeks covers. I’m considering creating some sort of planner with Tomoe River paper so that I can have a whole year’s worth in pocket form.

 

 

After 1 Year of Traveler’s Notebooks

This post is about two months late, but I’d like to share my thoughts after a year of delving deep into the world of traveler’s notebooks.

How It All Started

My very first TN was actually the Alunsina Mini-Kislap, a local maker of beautiful hand-tooled leather journals, and I got it around February of 2015. It was my first foray into traveler’s notebooks. Shortly after that, I got my first Midori (brown passport size). From there it went pretty much downhill.

Settling Into A Preferred Size

At some point around the middle of that first year, I went on a buying spree and basically tried out all the locally produced brands of TN in standard size. It was after doing the write-up that I realized standard size was not really something I was comfortable with. It took me about a month to finally accept that pocket sizeĀ isĀ my preferred size.

Venturing International

Once I had determined my preferred size, I started looking to try out international brands as well. I was able to try out Speckled Fawns, Zenkraft (although not pocket size), Jot, Chic Sparrow, and Foxyfix. My main conclusion from this is that there are really a lot of leather variations out there, and at this point there aren’t a lot of variety available locally.

My Current Collection

At this point, I really do have quite a lot of traveler’s notebooks of various sizes. I honestly cannot really keep them all in rotation, and while I do need a few to hold my completed journals, I probably have too many for comfort and sanity.

Happy national notebook day!

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I’m looking at a future downsize at some point. I really need to evaluate my needs against my wants, and whittle down the collection into a more manageable size.

 

The Sunday Currently #24

June was rather hectic in both work and outside work. I was able to go on a beach vacation with family which was a good interlude and broke up the relentless rhythm for a bit.

Reading

That said, I did get a few things done on the reading end, although most of them are comics.

Journey Into Mystery Volumes 1 and 2 – A story about Loki when he was resurrected into a young boy. As Kid Loki he had very little of his god powers but has all of his wits and wile. The premise was interesting, and the ending was very emotional for me. Kieron Gillen is a genius writer!

Young Avengers – Since I enjoyed Kieron Gillen’s Kid Loki story, I decided to see what came next and he appears in Young Avengers next. I did not like this as much as Journey Into Mystery, primarily because of the very confusing montage when his group was traveling through dimensions.

The Girl With All the Gifts – I had been looking at this book by M.R. Carey at the bookstores for quite some time now, and finally I decided to pick it up. I originally wanted to read this because the title (and the blurb) led me to believe that it’s a paranormal story about some girl. It turns out to be completely different, but good different, since it turns out to be a post-apocalyptic story instead (one of my favorite genres). I got my husband to read this right after I finished it, and he absolutely loved it as well!

Fantastic Four and Future Foundation – In the same thread of reading comics, my husband recommended me to read these two (series of) titles by Jonathan Hickman. If you know Fantastic Four, then basically the premise is that this is the time when they were older and the Richards had kids. The plot is quite involved and almost rather convoluted since at some point it alternated between Fantastic Four and Future Foundation, but it was awesome and I loved the entire thing.

I really like reading comics, because it seems like it takes me less time to sit down and finish stuff compared to reading novels. I’m probably going to continue going through my husband’s recommended comics reading list, while hopefully getting in a novel or two per month.

Writing

As per my last post, I’m reinvigorated with my journaling because of my decision to incorporate some creativity into it. I’m enjoying this activity a lot! Aside from that, I got myself another journal called Q&A A Day: 5-Year Journal where the idea is that you will briefly answer a question daily. There is space for five answers per question for the five years that this journal is intended to be used, and it would be interesting to see how my answers change for each question over the years. I like this journal and I’ve incorporated it into my nightly routine so hopefully I can keep up with the entries.

Watching

The biggest thing for me this month was watching Warcraft: The Beginning. As a long-time player of both Warcraft 3 and World of Warcraft, this movie was a must-see. I have to say that I saw it through rose-colored glasses, and loved everything! Of course there are issues such as the rather weak plot development, but I’m hoping that things will become clearer for the planned sequels.

We also saw Finding Dory with my daughter. It was an enjoyable film, and I really like how it handled the concept of disability. It gave me some insights into the disabled culture, and how families with disabled kids cope and adapt. It’s probably not going to be my favorite animated film by any stretch, but it was definitely worth seeing.

Clicking

I’ve suddenly been consumed with the wish to collect reaction gifs, so I started browsing the vast reaches of the internet. Here’s a couple of my favorites, both found through reactiongifs.com.

because tastes nasty

Wearing

I got myself a new pair of shoes for the office, and it’s called the Yogi style from the brand Parisian. It’s a nice pair of shiny black platform shoes that go well with officewear and skirts. It gives a bit of a height boost, without the strain brought by regular high heels or pumps. It does give me footaches if I walk in it for some time, but I mostly sit at a desk while at work so it’s all good. For photo reference here’s an old post by Anagon that covered the release of this shoe.

Thinking

World and local news are really quite depressing nowadays. I don’t really want to discuss them here, but rest assured that they weigh heavily in my mind.

Wanting

I want to buy more stuff! I’m feeling the itch to get new traveler’s notebooks (I totally don’t need new ones!), stationery (I have too much already!), and pens (again I have too much already!). I need to find a way to not give in to this itch!

Feeling

Super tired! Now that my daughter has finally started school again, that means I need to wake up earlier to help her get ready for pick up by her school bus. That means less or interrupted sleep for me! I probably just need to get used to it again, but I’m really feeling the effects of the routine change right now.

Hope you all have had a wonderful first half of 2016! Here’s to hoping that the second half will be better!

 

Snail Mail Love

Since I’ve been a kid, I’ve always enjoyed sending and receiving snail mail. It was a little sad that the advent of the internet made it an outdated form of communication, but I always try to find a way toĀ have some snail mail in my life. I have discovered some services that enable me to easily participate in snail mail activities, and I want to share them with you.

Swap-bot

Swap-bot is a service that allows users to host and participate in swaps of different types. Perhaps the easiest types that are available are postcard swaps, where basically you swap postcards of a specific theme or write specific things on postcards with your randomly assigned partner/s generated from the participants of the swap. Other swaps that I usually join include crafting supplies, planner supplies, and letters or notecards. I’ve been swapping for just over a year, and I’ve received some amazing stuff through these swaps, such as this beautiful piece of mail art (aka decorated envelope). Do note that most of the time you will be sending to international recipients, so keep that in mind as postage fees might be steep for heavier packages. I just use the “ordinary” post at the Philippine Post Office. If you want to learn more about the site or if you’re interested in joining, check out their About page.

mailart

Postcrossing

Postcrossing is a straight up postcard trading platform. TheĀ idea here though is that you will be the one sending first to a randomly assigned recipients and depending on how many you send, that unlocks postcards being sent to you in return. The more postcards you send, the more you are allowed to send at one time. I have just recently joined Postcrossing and I don’t have a lot of received postcards from that platform yet, but I am definitely enjoying it. There is even a local Postcrossing Facebook group for more community participation.

postcrossingcard

Letter Writers Alliance

Lastly, Letter Writers Alliance is more geared toward pen pals and letter writing. And the biggest hurdle to this is that it requires a membership (with a fee!) before you can request for a pen pal from the service, but the fee is quite reasonable and you get some neat things from it. This is the newest service I have tried, and thus far I’ve only requested for pen pals once and have yet to receive letters from them. The other interesting thing about LWA is that they have a pretty nifty members-only shop where they sell really nice snail mail supplies.

Do you know of any other snail mail services that I have not mentioned? I’d love to check them out, so kindly leave links in the comments below!