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In anticipation for my next trip to Japan, I got myself a new backpack. Jian offered to lend me his backpack, but his is too masculine looking & large, & it would make me look like an odd shaped turtle waddling down the slim streets of Kyoto. Therefore, I opted to pick out my very own backpack. Why buy a backpack? Well, Jian & I have been using his backpack on our last several trips, & it is such an incredible convenience. I hate hauling around my over-sized & cumbersome purse when I’m on vacation, especially when I’m traveling to a hot weather destination. Also, I hate it when I constantly have to stop & adjust the strap(s) of my purse. Well, I could get myself a travel purse, but let’s face it. Those travel purses look like old lady bags (no offense to women of an older age…) & they’re just overall unattractive (& more expensive than the backpack I just got). A backpack is so much cooler looking, even though they still scream “Look at me! I’m a bloody bumbling tourist.

Originally, I had bought a backpack from the brand Fjällräven, but I had to return it because I had picked the wrong size. I accidentally got the child-sized bag instead of the adult size, & to my defense, the website was very confusing in their description. They don’t ever mention the dimensions (i.e. height, width, etc.) of the backpack, but instead they list how many ‘litres’ the bag can carry. Since I’m not familiar with the European metric system, obviously it was harder for me to figure out. I was going to exchange the backpack for a larger size, but decided it would just be easier to return everything & get something else for myself. I was a little bummed that this backpack didn’t work out for me. It had a super cute fox patch already on it, & you know how I am about foxes (LOVE THEM, hence the blog name.)

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This is a sample of the first backpack I accidentally chose & the backpack next to it, was the one I was intending to get. (All photo credits belong to www.fjallraven.us)

So here is the backpack I ended up getting. It’s from a brand called hellolulu, & I think this backpack is sooo much cuter & more practical for my needs than the other bag I returned. I got this backpack from Flight 001, a travel store, during their backpack & luggage campaign. I still kept the mustard-ish yellow color, & I am so happy with what I got. Here is a proper description of my backpack as described from the website:

Make your everyday commute in the city a mini-adventure. Tate is here to declutter your journey by neatly and effortlessly organizing your belongings. The main zippered compartment, with magnetic closures, features an internal padded laptop sleeve, storage pockets, and pen slots. The exterior features two side slip pockets as well as a front zippered pocket with a key clip. The bag’s water-repellant coating allows you to take this bag anywhere to do anything, rain or shine.

Features and Benefits:

  • Polyester body with water-repellant & heavy duty UTX Duraflex buckles/accessories
  • Internal laptop compartment fits up to a 13″ laptop

Measurement: 11″ x 6.7″ x 16.1″

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Shall I give it a name?

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The straps are adjustable & very comfortable.

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This clip attaches to the ends of your shoulder strap to tuck them neatly out of the way.

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The front pocket is padded & large enough to fit an iPad sized tablet, & it even has a discreet carabiner for keys. The pocket on the side is roomy enough for large water bottles.

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There is an additional pocket on the other side as well.

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I love the green accents just on the zipper pulls to give the backpack a pop of color & a break from all that yellow.

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The opening of the main compartment has both a zipper closure & a magnetic closure for added security.

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There are FOUR additional pockets inside the main compartment. The largest pocket is also padded & able to hold up to a 13″ laptop.

I am so excited to be able to use this backpack in the future. This is going to be my new travel companion from now on, so I won’t have to only rely on Jian’s backpack, & I won’t have to schlepp around my bulky purse all the time. I’m thinking that this backpack would also be perfect to use on my annual Thanksgiving tradition of visiting Disneyland. My trip to Japan is still one month away, but I’m already itching to decorate this backpack with charm straps for the zippers & patches for the front. I might just post an update on how this backpack looks after I’ve decorated it. Until then, cheers!

Today’s song of the day:

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As you may very well know by now, I have been cramming my arts & crafts box, which I lovingly named Pierre, with all sorts of washi & masking tapes. It’s gotten to the point where I can barely close Pierre‘s lid. I’ve been using washi & decorative masking tapes a lot more in my stationery crafts, & I’ve even used them in spicing up a few Christmas decorations. When I brought back my new batch of washi tapes from my Asia trip, I was partly thinking that Jian would only complain that I never use these tapes, & partly thinking about ways I could use my new tapes. So, I decided to come up with a DIY project & decorate a few of my blank notebooks.

I had got the inspiration from a vlogger on YouTube who showed off a custom hand-drawn notebook that her friend had designed for her. I was so inspired by this YouTube vlogger, but alas, I cannot draw to save my life. I can barely draw stick figures, no matter how much I practice. So…instead of drawing a custom cover art, I thought about using other materials, & that’s where my washi tapes came into play. Of course, using washi & decorative masking tapes to customize something really doesn’t need any explanation, but I figured I’d show you what I’ve done & how I did it.

DIY notebooks1

1. scissors, 2. blank notebook (or any object with a blank, smooth surface), 3. decorative masking tapes of your choice

Basically, there’s three materials being used, & approximately three steps to decorating the item of your choice. First you select the decorative tapes you want to use. Next, you cut a strip of tape to the desired length of the object. At this point in the project, you can also cut your tape into various shapes & patterns. For example, you can cut the ends of the strip of tape to look like a ribbon. Finally, you affix the tape to your object. Yes, that was entirely obvious, but maybe this will give someone out there in our world wide universe some inspiration for themselves.

And…Here is the final result.

DIY notebooks

I bought these three Moleskin notebooks from Target & tried to use as many of the washi tapes from my Asia trip as possible. The first notebook is a sweet pastel theme. You can’t really see it from my photo, but the notebook is supposed to be a soft pink. I used some fabric masking tapes with some paper washi tapes to give the cover a little bit of texture. I wanted to choose colors that would stand out, but would also match the pink notebook.

The second notebook is a khaki color. At this stage of my DIY project, I couldn’t think of any specific design or pattern, until I came across my London themed tape roll. The inspiration hit me like a ton of bricks & I turned this boring notebook into a London/UK theme. I was especially proud of myself when I was able to add in the part of the tape that says “This is London“. I thought it was very fitting (& very much a lucky coincidence) that the words ended up on the bottom corner of the cover.

The final notebook in the set is a lavender color. I had already decided on using my special edition Sanrio stamp tape. I was trying to get as many of the characters on the cover as possible. I even tried to fill the entire cover with the stamp tape, but the band of the tape was too wide, so I wasn’t able to fill the cover completely without some overlap, which would cover up the stamp design. So, I ended up leaving the top portion of the cover blank, which I think makes the design look even better than if I had filled the whole cover. Filling the whole cover would have made it look to busy anyway. I added a few of my own Hello Kitty stickers just for fun, & there you have it!

I feel like although I have a very creative imagination, & I’m pretty good at decorating cards & stationery, I’m not very good at executing arts & crafts projects or DIY projects. My intentions come from a good place, but I can never really quite make it take shape. So, for me to actually finish a DIY project & it looking pretty good, I’m quite happy. Maybe this is a sign for more arts & crafts projects in the future. Cheers!

Today’s song of the day:


I don’t know exactly how my dad came into the habit of using handkerchiefs all of his life. I know it is popular in Japanese culture to use handkerchiefs & small hand towels, but I don’t think my dad particularly picked up on that part of the culture he grew up around. I have a sneaking suspicion he learned this habit from his own father, who owned a bespoke tailor shop, or perhaps from all of the upper crust military men who came to my grandfather for custom western suits. Whatever which way my dad learned the habit of using handkerchiefs, I am so grateful he passed down this habit to me.

Using a handkerchief is a dying custom. I know that it has become fashionable again for men to accessorize their suits with pocket squares, tie clips, & lapel pins, but that’s only for show. Those pocket squares are purely for decoration, & rarely used for their original purpose. How very sad. I believe in fully utilizing the pocket square, or more specifically, the handkerchief. I mean, why have it if you’re not going to use it? Don’t be ridiculous or wasteful.

When I think of handkerchiefs, I think back to all of those movies from the 1950s & 60s that I’ve watched with my family, & I imagine how those refined ladies & gentlemen would use their handkerchiefs. Ladies would use their handkerchiefs for modesty & being discreet, also to wipe the messy faces of their children. The gentlemen would use them to wipe their hands, blow their noses, & to chivalrously give to a woman who’s been tear-stained & puffy-eyed. I would imagine the ladies carrying a pretty, embroidered or laced handkerchief in their purses, while the men would tuck crisp, white cotton handkerchief in their pants or suit pocket. How sophisticated (& practical)!

There are many practical uses for a handkerchief, I can’t see why they couldn’t be used more in our modern day & age. I’m sure today’s modern feminist woman would say I’ll find it sweet &/or chivalrous if a gentleman were to offer her his handkerchief in a time of necessity, such as: if she had no napkin to wipe her hands, or no tissue to wipe her nose, or if she needed to dry her eyes, or perhaps to tie around a small wound as a makeshift bandage. Men these days could also benefit from using them. I mean, it’s so gross & unbecoming when guys sneeze loudly all over the place, especially in public. Using the crook of an arm, even though it’s more sanitary than sneezing into one’s cupped hand(s), isn’t very discreet or pleasant looking. However, using a handkerchief to muffle the sneeze & to minimize wiping one’s wet hands onto his pants is much more gentlemanly & proper etiquette/manners. Also, it’s cooler to see a guy use a nice handkerchief rathe than the back of his hand or a fast food napkin. On top of all that, handkerchiefs are reusable! Yes, you can throw them in the washing machine & use them over & ove  again unlike Kleenex, which you throw away after one use, & not to mention they get wet & easily spread germs if left crumpled up all over the place.

As you can see, I love using handkerchiefs. I get severe allergies all the time, such is the story of my life since early childhood. My dad used to always lend me his handkerchief to wipe my nose because he disliked seeing me rub the palm of my hand up & down my nose &/or wipe my nose on my shirtsleeve in public. He thought that was not proper behavior, especially for a lady. Since I’ve picked up the habit of using handkerchiefs, I’ve been more inclined to starting my own collection rather than stealing my dad’s. As my life story goes, I am picky in this category as well. This means that I am selective in the styles I choose. I mostly prefer 100% cotton fabric,. I don’t particularly like linen or silk fabrics. I also don’t like outrageous colors & patterns. I quite like, & often gravitate towards stark white handkerchiefs. This is what I’ve collected so far…

1. This is the original handkerchief that started it all. It looks a bit ratty & torn, but I can attest that this handkerchief has been well loved & well taken care of. I have named this handkerchief Tom Hanks-erchief. I call him Mr. Hanks for short. I had originally named him Mr. Hanky, but that quickly became a joking reference to the Christmas poop character from the cartoon South Park, so I immediately changed the name. The new name is a nod to the awesome actor Tom Hanks. I really enjoy Tom Hanks’ acting, & I just think he’s cool.

2. This was my second handkerchief. Because of this, I named this one Colin Hanks-erchief. Obviously, I named him Colin after Tom Hanks’ real-life son & fellow actor Colin Hanks. Therefore, I had to also nickname this one Mr. Hanks Jr.. As you can see, I have a thing for white cotton handkerchiefs. These I was given not stolen from my dad.

3. I got this purple plaid handkerchief while I was in Japan. This was at the time when the brand UNIQLO had not become known worldwide, & was only popular/available in Japan. At that time, I had just learned about the casual affordable clothing brand & was completely obsessed with the brand. I didn’t bother to check the size, & was surprised when I found it was larger than the handkerchiefs I normally used at home. I don’t particularly go for purple colored things, but this pattern happened to be the most tame of all the ones on the store shelves, so I ended up choosing this one (but also because it’s 100% cotton).

4. There was one point in my life where I was completely immersed in Japanese street wear & Japanese urban pop culture. I was addicted to this particular Japanese lifestyle brand called A Bathing Ape (a.k.a. BAPE). I still am in love with this brand. I’ve got tons of items from this brand from things like: decorative pillows, kitchenware like mugs & glass cups, bath towels, blankets, bags, clothes, toys, accessories, & even vinyl toys/collectibles. I saw this handkerchief & was absolutely smitten. This is one of my favorite patterns from this Japanese brand that is mostly known for its outrageously multi-colored camouflage patterns. They call this a red plaid pattern. I have a matching raincoat, hand towel & umbrella in this same pattern. This handkerchief is a cotton-blend fabric, & it’s so soft. I only take it out for special occasions because this brand is pricey, & this pattern is no longer available within this brand. Ever since this brand got bought out by a major Chinese company, they have taken this brand in a different direction that I don’t I really agree with. haven’t felt the same love for this brand as I have in the past.

5. I recently got this (& the other two below) while I was in China. These handkerchiefs are from a Japanese brand called Hankachi (which I suspect is a shortened Japanese loanword for the full word handkerchief…a.k.a. han-ka-chiifu). Sorry for my lack of quality in these photos. I am not a professional photographer by any means, & I don’t really mind if the photos are not in super hyper HD quality…as long as you can see the photos relatively clearly & get my gist, then I’m fine with that too. Ok, so the first pattern I chose is this super cute bird pattern with stripes of bird footprints. I absolutely love this soft pastel color scheme. I am a complete sucker for soft blues, baby pinks, creamy yellows, & gray tones. Also, this handkerchief is pretty soft considering it’s got a mesh weave. The mesh weave gives the handkerchiefbreathability, which is good for when you want to wipe your brow on hot, sticky summer days.

6. Everybody around me knows I love pastries. I love cakes, & I love sweet pastel colors. So it’s a no-brainier that I would choose this pattern. I was originally going to give this as a gift to a friend who is obsessed with the Lolita lifestyle, but I ended up choosing a different pattern for her instead. I kept this one for myself. How could I not? This handkerchief is so delicate-looking, feminine, & lovely. I would be happy to carry this around in my purse. Just looking at it makes me hungry for sweets. LOL!


7. This last pattern I chose is a nod to Japanese summer festivals. Festivals & outdoor carnival-style events are popular in the summer in Japan. People of all ages love to walk around in their summer kimonos (a.k.a. ukata), eat street foods, & play carnival games. One popular prize to win at these festivals are little pet goldfish, hence the goldfishes on this handkerchief. I just love the bright color scheme of this handkerchief as well. This definitely reminds me of Summer’s spent in Japan, & since I am going back to Japan this July, I could definitely use this handkerchief! Hooray!

Well, that just about sums up my little blog post. I feel so winded after all of this writing. I’m kidding. Anyways, I’m going to go out & enjoy what little bit of warm weather Mother Nature has brought out for the day, & then I’m going to ℅ inure editing my photos from my Asia trip. (I’ve been procrastinating on those photos.) Cheers!

Today’s song of the day:

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