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WHO: 99 Things That Bring Me Joy

WHAT: Things you collect

I think I have nearly beaten this topic to death in my blog. I talk a lot about many of the things I enjoy collecting, especially stationery & office supply related things. Here in this blog, I will not go into too much detail about those collections I have already talked about, but rather I will explore more of the collections I tend to keep hidden. So, let’s jump right into it, shall we?

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sample of my pin collection

I have talked about my pin collection in at least two or three other blog posts, so I’m not going to talk much about this here, but I will give you a little background information on how I first got into pin collecting. When I was a wee child, growing up, my maternal grandmother manufactured official licensed merchandise for the 1984 Los Angeles Summer Olympics. One of the biggest products she manufactured at the time were enamel pins for Coca-Cola & the Olympics. I had no idea at the time how popular enamel pins actually were. Hey, I was only a toddler at the time, & anything that wasn’t Hello Kitty related didn’t register on my radar.

During my teenage years, I didn’t really develop much of an interest in pins. I was mostly interested in listening to music & hanging out with my friends. Then, in my mid-twenties, due to my new found obsession with anime & manga, I started buying cheap pins to show off my favorite characters, not even caring that it made me look like I was trying too hard to act younger than my actual age.

These days, as you well know, enamel pins are making a comeback in fashion trends. Jian kick started my renewed interest in collecting pins when we both started collecting pins from some of our favorite Japanese streetwear brands. I then slowly transitioned into collecting all sorts of other enamel pins that reflect my interests & style. I have one particular plain wool sweater that I stole from Jian is my favorite, & I like decorating it with those pins from time-to-time (not every time, though). You’ve pretty much seen the bulk of my collection by now.


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Ridge “Where In The World Are Jezza, Hamster, Captain Slow & The Stig?” Postcard print set via Gallery 1988 Los Angeles

I really wish I could whip out my postcard collection, & catalogue every single one for this blog, but it would take me way too long. As of right now I can’t even count how many postcards I have in my collection. They’re all scattered in different places. I’ve got a majority of my collection neatly organized in photo albums in a plastic bin somewhere in the dark abyss that is our house storage closet. Then I’ve got a couple more tucked in between a stack of greeting cards in another plastic bin in my frequently used closet.

I started collecting postcards when I was in high school. On the weekends, I would tell my parents that I was spending time with my friends at one of their houses, then we’d all run off to the big San Francisco city (which my parents would’ve punished me big time if they ever found out back then). We’d usually frequent the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood because that’s where we thought all the pot-smoking hippies & cool people with tattoos hung out. There we’d discovered all kinds of dirty, naughty things that we knew our parents would disapprove of.

I remember the first postcard I ever bought had a picture of two drag queens on it. It had some funny caption about dudes in women’s clothes written on it. That was my very first encounter & experience into the drag queen culture. I was so fascinated by these two bros in colorful dresses & wigs, wearing the most extra snatched beat mug, I just couldn’t stop staring at the photo, practically analyzing it within an inch of its life. After that, I was hooked on collecting postcards that I thought were dirty, edgy, & cool. That meant that I also had to buy the postcard of a beefy guy in skimpy bikini-brief underwear, with the crotch cut out, & the words “Flick My ____” on it. In case you haven’t already figured it out, the cut-out crotch was meant so that you could place the postcard over your light switch, & you can guess the rest of it.

These days, I don’t collect many ready-made postcards. Instead, I like to buy blank postcards & print my own designs on them to give to friends as birthday cards, or thank you cards, or any other special occasion card. Since discovering the power of Photoshop, I’ve learned to make graphic images of my own that I can print out & give to friends. I even make my own Christmas gift tags on postcard cardstock during the holidays.


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Pablo: my plastic bin of stationery sets

Let me tell you, I have been collecting stationery sets for a very, very long time. I don’t just stash them away in a bin (like the one shown above) & never use them. I do actually use them to write letters. Yes, I have been handwriting letters since a young age.

When I was merely a tween, & would read all the girly magazines like Teen BeatBOP, I used to write fan mail to my favorite teen celebrities. Now, I’m not going to incriminate myself by revealing the types of things I wrote in those corny letters. However, I would often use some of my colorful letter sets to try to stand out amongst the other fan mail with hand drawn pictures.

As I got older, I would write fun letters to my high school friends, which eventually transitioned into writing sweet letters to the boyfriend I was dating at the time. I didn’t have a long list of boyfriends back then. I barely started dating when I was in my early twenties. (Yes, that’s how late of a relationship bloomer I was.) I first briefly dated one guy in college, but he turned out to be a Grade-A asshole/douchebag. I then dated one guy I went to high school with, but we had long since graduated by then, & we had a terrible falling out after a pretty lengthy relationship. I even dated one guy from Australia on the internet, but he turned out to be an even bigger douchebag than that first guy I dated.

Thinking back on those times, I only wrote letters to one of my ex-boyfriends, & that was because I had signed up for a 3 month study abroad program, & we both promised to write letters to each other. It wasn’t until I met Jian, & then I really pushed myself to put those letter sets to good use. I wrote Jian dozens of letters, & he kept every single one. I’m not sure if that was due to him being sentimental or just too lazy to throw out old papers stuffed into a junk bin in his closet. I’d like to think it was the former reason, but either way, it was a good use of all those expensive sets I bought from Japantown.

Here is one example of a few of my oldest stationery sets that I’ve kept through all these years.

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samples of what you already know about

Are we going to beat this dead horse? Really? Are we going to discuss this topic for the umpteenth time? You don’t need to read another boring blurb about my long-time obsession with stickers & my new found obsession with decorative tapes. I just recently wrote a blog about all the new craft tapes & tape accessories I just bought, so you can read all about it over on that post.

One of my earliest childhood memories was of my sister keeping her own collection of stickers. She was around the same age as I was when I started collecting stickers, but she kept all of her stickers in those old fashioned photo albums where you had to peel back the plastic sleeve of the page & affix your item to the sticky back of the page. My sister would peel off her stickers from the sheet & apply them straight on to the blank pages of the photo albums, thus rendering the stickers utterly useless other than to look at like tiny cut-out images.

When I had stumbled upon my sister’s old sticker albums, I was absolutely appalled that she didn’t use any of her stickers to decorate anything she owned. She merely kept them all in a photo album as though they were priceless collectors stamps. Well, unlike my sister, I actually use my stickers for decorating things & in various arts & crafts projects. You know the rest of this story.


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putting Leroy on full display

Another topic that you’ve probably heard me go on & on about many times over is my collecting of pens. So, I do not really have to go into too much detail about it. I will say, though, that there are two styles of pens that I am a big fan of & use most often. One style is the Sarasa push clip gel pens by the Zebra brand, & the other style is the FriXon colors erasable markers by the Pilot brand. These two styles of pens are the ones I use the most often when I make cards for friends, or when I am writing personal notes.

I have been using & collecting the Sarasa gel pens for many years already, & somehow my handwriting looks better when I use  these pens. I prefer to use the 0.5mm tip size; it’s a fairly fine tip size that doesn’t scratch through thin paper, but it’s not so thin that your handwriting looks faint. Although I have only in recent years become a fan of the erasable markers in the FriXion line, I do have a couple of the color-pencil-like erasable gel pens, & two of the ball knock retractable gel pens that I keep in my purse at all times.

I love these two styles of pens; one is a truly erasable pen with a clean erase finish. The other has one of the best medium tip sizes that is not too fine or too thick. Both of these pen brands have great ink color ranges as well. They’re both great tools to use in arts & crafts projects, or to make bullet journals & planners which have become a popular trend these days.


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I never played with dolls, but I played with these.

Pinky:St, also written Pinky Street (ピンキーストリート Pinkī Sutorīto), are plastic (PET) figures designed by BabySue and manufactured by the Japanese company Vance Project. Their distinguishing feature is the interchangeable parts. The heads, hair styles, clothing and accessories can easily be switched between figures according to taste.
The figures are about 10 cm (4 in) tall and compatible with 1:18 scale dollhouses, furniture, vehicles and other accessories. Many special edition Pinky:St figures have been produced based on characters from Japanese anime, manga and video games.

One of my first serious collections was a series of plastic doll figures called Pinky:St.. I first saw an advertisement of this toy series in a Japanese anime & manga magazine called New Type Magazine, that I once had a subscription to. This magazine is still in existence, but they have long since discontinued their English-translated magazines, which was what I had a subscription to. The magazine subscription was super expensive back in the early 2000’s, but it was worth it. I read every issue from cover-to-cover.

I saw the advert for these doll figures & was instantly hooked. I never thought in my wildest dreams that I would ever get a chance to look at these figures in person unless I bought a plane ticket & traveled all the way to Japan. Then, the stars aligned, & I found a set of these figures at my local anime convention by accident. I had recently become friends with the owner of a newly opened Japanese toy shop near where I lived, & he had a dealer’s booth at the convention. I ran into him at the convention merely by chance, & he happened to have those exact figures I was wishing I could get my hands on. Needless to say, I was bursting with joy.

From that point on, I started building my collection, with a huge amount of moral support from one of my closest friends, who was also building her collection of specialty dolls (BlythePullips) at the same time I was learning about these cute plastic toys. At that time, I was searching every available Japanese toy store, looking for whatever Pinky:St. dolls I could get my hands on.

By the time I had learned about this series of toys, there had already been quite a few limited edition & specialty sets released in Japan which I could not acquire, unless I had a valid Japanese residential address & a big fat bank account to help me bid on Yahoo! Auctions Japan. I had amassed quite a collection of these Pinky:St. dolls back in the early 2000’s, & didn’t just collect them. I took the figures out of their boxes, played with all of their interchangeable parts & accessories, & had even made shadow box dioramas to display my figures. It was a real joy to be able to display all of my dolls on my chest of drawers until my collection became an overwhelming presence in my bedroom.

Once Jian & I decided to move in together into our own place, I, with much hesitation, ended up packing up all of my dolls into storage. I hope to one day bring these figures out of the shadows & back into the light, so I can display them again, but I’m not sure when that will be. Until then, here is a sampling of some of the figures I had collected.


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This is an expensive hobby, but think of it as an INVESTMENT.

This is a topic that I rarely talk about. Collecting designer toys & limited edition collectibles from my favorite toy brands, street artists, & contemporary designers has been a long-time passion of mine (a passion that I avidly share with Jian). I don’t like to talk about this subject very much because it makes me feel like I’m flaunting the foolish amount of money Jian & I both spend on toys (mostly designed in Japan, but probably manufactured in China). Also, we don’t like to flaunt our limited edition collectibles; we prefer to be very discreet & low-key. We both absolutely abhor the current “fuccboi” culture & don’t want to come across as the “fuccboi’s” of the toy collecting world.

I would like to just state that I DO NOT frivolously throw my money around when it comes to collectible toys (& neither does Jian, unless it pertains to Transformers toys). We are both extremely selective when choosing a new item to add to our shared collection. We follow our favorite artists & brands on social media, as well as closely follow their careers & new product releases. When one of us finds a collectible or limited edition item that we like, Jian & I will come together & discuss whether or not it would be worthwhile to add the item to our growing collection. It takes a lot of back-&-forth deliberation before we ultimately decide to buy a new item for our jointly-owned collection.

During our college years, Jian & I were a little less responsible with our finances (myself especially). Any type of toy we found to be hip, trendy &/or popular at the time, we’d try to find any sort of way to acquire the item. Even back in those days we were already thinking & planning towards the future by keeping up-to-date with the collectible value of all our precious items, in hopes that our “investment pieces” would greatly appreciate in both dollar value & popularity. However in today’s times, Jian & I have become more conservative in our acquiring of collectible toys; primarily in order to save for the future & not spend so much money, but also because we don’t have much space left at home to store other items without our place looking like a Toys ‘R’ Us store.

To give you an idea of the types of items we have been collecting throughout all of these years we’ve been together, here is a sample of a few of our collectible toys.

[ PERSONAL DISCLAIMER: Please forgive the poor quality of these images. Some of these photos were taken on mobile phones back when flip phones & Blackberry’s were still a “thing” & cameras on mobile phones were still a new concept. ]

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Gloomy Bear collage

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Well, there you have it. This is my crazy list of collectibles. I am sorry it took so damn long to write this blog. I have been dealing with a lot of feminine medical procedures & such, as well as running around (like a chicken with its head cut off) to attend a lot of family events & gatherings. On top of that, I took Jian on his very first camping trip in the good ol’ outdoors, complete with a tent, cookouts on the grill, & mosquitoes that can even bite through heavy duty deet spray. All in all, it’s been a whirlwind these past many weeks, & every time I try to carve out some time to write, I get pulled away from my computer to do something else (other equally important things).

Tomorrow I’m off to Vancouver, British Columbia again. Jian invited me to accompany him on another one of his work “meetings” (a.k.a. business trips). I don’t think I will write a blog post about this trip though. It’s going to be short, & most of my travel posts end up on Instagram anyway. Until next time, cheers!

Today’s song of the day:

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When it comes to my stationery shopping or collection gathering, I am no longer going to make any solid promises. I am not going to say (yet again) that this will be the last purchase or anything like that. I just keep proving every time that I can’t stick to any of these ridiculous declarations. I will never stop collecting the things I love. So, now we’ve come to yet another blog post about my stationery/office supply (sort of) hoarding. Instead of making a bunch of little, meaningless posts each time I get something, I am just going to throw everything I’ve gotten so far this year into one medium-sized post… because this is getting a little out of hand, & I am happily spinning out of control.


I might have mentioned a long time ago that I’ve got a quirky collection of nearly 300+ postcards that I’ve been keeping since I was a young teenager. I recently purchased a few more postcards that I’m planning on not keeping for my collection, & will actually be using them to write messages to friends & family. Not all of these postcards are the kind I’d like to keep for myself. Some of them are formal enough for me to be able to turn them into greeting cards for friends.

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Jian is not happy about this, but I keep filling my pen case, Leroy, with more writing tools. Yes, I have way too many pens, but I actually use them more often than not. I use all of my writing tools. I don’t collect them for no reason; that would be a terrible, frivolous waste that I would never condone. I use all of my writing tools on a day-to-day basis, making To Do lists, marking appointments on my home calendar, making craft projects, writing everyday sticky note reminders, etc..

Then, when I find a brand of writing tools that I really love, one that writes well & does not ruin your paper, I will truly invest in it…which means I’ll buy the same pen in all of my favorite ink colors. Very rarely will I buy any pens in an ink color that is not useful in an everyday scenario (i.e. white, gray, lime green, powder blue, or anything metallic). I like to choose colors that are vibrant & will be easy to read when writing. The ease of use is also important when selecting a good pen. I like pens that are smooth when writing & don’t skip, bleed, or scratch the paper.

This is why I’ve recently chosen to invest in the Pilot brand’s series of FriXion writing tools. I have a full set of their felt tip colored markers. I keep a pair of their retractable ball knock gel ink pens in my purse, & now I’ve gone on to invest in their series of color pencil-like pens. I haven’t purchased all of the colors in this pen series, & I don’t think I plan to do so either. (I really do not need 4 different shades of orange pens.) However, I did get all of the colors that I think will be useful in my everyday writing.

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My photography skills are horrible. This photo does not properly show the pens’ true colors.


I have a Japanese masking tape hoarding problem. It’s gotten so bad that I’ve gone on to start a second storage box to contain all of my washi tape rolls. I keep on telling myself that I don’t need any more decorative masking tapes, but it’s so hard to stick to my own words when Japanese office product companies continue to make the most cute/adorable/eye-catching products that draw customers in every time.

Of course, I don’t just collect these tape rolls for the hell of it. I do actually use these tapes in my everyday life. I put decorative masking tape on all of my travel luggage, so I can easily identify my suitcases whenever I travel abroad. I also use these tapes to make labels for basic household items like spice jars & miscellaneous kitchen containers. I have also used these masking tapes to decorate my wireless Apple Airpod earphones (so I can identify which is the left ear & the right ear).

I recently got more of these decroative washi tape rolls, but out of the vast selection of tapes they had at my favorite store in my local Japantown, I tried to be very selective in my purchases, choosing styles that I would use often & did not look too kitschy. Of course when I saw the fox themed tape roll, I did a little happy dance in my head. Also, I just could not resist the sexy nurse lingerie themed tape. It’s super duper cheesy, but I have a thing for frilly, lacy, racy lingerie. As for the food themed tapes, well, I really enjoy eating Japanese snack foods & pub/grilled food. Lastly, I am trying to branch out & play more with glittery/metallic craft products. I didn’t like to use them in the past because glitterized crafting supplies tend to be very messy (as in the glitter gets all over everything & is hard to clean up), & metallic items (like masking tapes & stickers) don’t adhere well to one’s crafting projects.

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I’m going to continue with this subject, but switching to a sub-topic…masking tape accessories, more specifically, tape cutters. So far, I have been using the old fashioned traditional route & using a pair of generic scissors to cut my decorative tapes. I’ve got a lot of cute washi tape dispensers saved on my Etsy favorites list, but I have never actually pulled the trigger, so to speak, & bought any of them.

I am not much of a fan of traditional tape dispensers. In my opinon, they are bulky, clunky, & they take up too much space if you want to neatly store them away. I don’t like having too much clutter on my work desk, even though my desk is cluttered right now, & I don’t like having too many office tools sitting on top of my desk. So, this is why I have invested in a few rather discreet tape cutters. I bought two types, & they both easily fit in my craft supplies storage box, Trevor. One of them is by the Japanese brand Kanmido, called the Maco tape cutting pen. The other is a Karu-cut tape cutter clip by another Japanese brand called Kokuyo.

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The Kokuyo brand tape cutter clip is the most convenient & easiest to use crafting tool I have ever used. It’s very clear & obvious to see that you clip the cutter on to any roll of decorative masking tape (I’m pretty sure you can use this on other forms of adhesive tapes as well). There are two sizes (& various colors) to choose from, & I chose the larger of the two sizes since I have a few odd sized rolls of decorative tape that are not standard sizes. The larger tape cutter allows me to cut any of my rolls of tape without me having to buy different tools for one type of usage.

The Kanmido tape cutting pen, however, is more complicated to use. I will admit that this was a completely impulsive purchase. I saw it & instantly thought it was so cute. I barely skimmed over the information written on the front of the packaging. I took one look at the name of the product on the front of the package & threw it into my shopping basket straight away. It wasn’t until I got home & thoroughly read the packaging & instructions when I found out there’s more to this product than simply cutting masking tape. There’s some work involved in using this tape cutting pen.

I am calling this product a pen because it has a pen-like shape, & it is a compact product meant for office workers & students to be able to throw into their pen pouches in their breifcases or school book bags. How it works, & this is where the more complicated part comes into play, is that this tape cutter is only meant for you to cut small amounts of tape. It’s designed so you don’t have to carry whole rolls of masking tape in your bag, you can carry a small sample of your favorite masking tapes all in this one pen-like device, & you can also carry multiple sample rolls of different tapes. It’s kind of a hassle to have to make your own sample roll of washi tape to put inside this device, but this will be a lot easier to carry in your bag than a whole roll of tape, & you can easily switch your tape rolls if you buy extra roller guides, so you can have a variety of tape designs at your disposal.


Ok, I am now going to blame Jian just a little bit for what I’m about to say next because he encouraged me to do this. Yes, I said it. Jian encouraged me to buy more pins to add to my fast-growing pin collection. I didn’t go hog wild on pin shopping like I did when I went to Las Vegas for the LV Comic Con, but I did get a few cool pins along with one iron-on patch (to decorate my colorful backpack with). I also purchased a minimalist storage box from my new favorite office goods shop in Downtown Los Angeles called Hightide Store (not to be confused with the L.A. bar & café called High Tide), & of course I had to give this new storage box a name, just like I do with all of my other inanimate objects. I named this little white box Franklin. I think ‘Franklin’ is a fun name.

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Some of my pins & patches were purchased at my favorite coffee roaster’s shop, Verve Coffe Roasters, when the two of us set out to satisfy our caffeine craving. First of all, Jian & I are coffee addicts. Well, I am a bigger coffee addict than Jian is. He can go without coffee from time-to-time, but if I skip even one day of drinking coffee, I will experience the usual withdrawl symptoms… mild headache, yawning all day long, etc.. We both enjoy a high quality coffee bean roaster, especially if they hail from the Bay Area region of California (our home region), & Verve Coffee is originally from the city of Santa Cruz (not near, yet not far to where we live).

We love visiting one of Verve’s coffee shops whenever we’re down in Los Angeles, since L.A. doesn’t really have any coffee roasting companies of their own. I picked up one of Verve’s Tokyo pins as an homage to both of my familial backgrounds. I have roots both in California & in Japan, & I love the fact that one of my all-time favorite coffee roasting companies has branched out to my dad’s home country.misc pins1.png

campfire pin

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You didn’t expect me to post a stationery haul without my sticker purchase, did you? Well I kind of cheated a little & had bought these stickers over the Christmas holiday time, around the time when I bought my new calendars for 2019 (which I’ve chosen not to include in to this post). If you can zoom-in to the inserted photo below, you can see that I’ve already started using these stickers. I couldn’t resist.

Most of these stickers I bought for the specific purpose of making & decorating birthday cards. I have got a lot of extended family members & friends who have birthdays pretty early on in the year, so I’ve already been making greeting cards & sending them out.

I don’t really have much to say about these stickers. They are pretty generic everyday stickers like candies, hearts, & “Happy Birthday” banners. When I was shopping at my all-time favorite online Japanese retailer, I had a hard time whittling my shopping cart list down to just a few select sticker themes that I knew I would be able to use in a multi-purpose format. I wanted to grab all of the stickers, but after a long, internal debate, ended up choosing the ones you see in this photo below.sticker collage


We have finally reached the end of my haul post & my final purchase, which I believe is a very practical office product. I got myself a folding metal book rest. I’ve been looking for one like the one I just purchased on the internet recently. I have recently been doing more paperwork at my job which requires me to copy a lot of documents & templates onto the computer, & having a book rest to prop up my papers is very handy. I also like the fact that my mom can borrow my book rest (any time she wants) so she can use it to hold her super thicc, large piano book. She’s been looking for a book stand for a very long time that can sit atop her baby grand piano, & also prop up her heavy piano book without the bottom lip of the stand to cover the bottom half of the sheet music. The book rest I got has skinny arms that can easily hold the pages in place without covering up a lot of the book’s pages. It’s also sturdy enough to hold the weight of my mom’s heavy piano book. Ilike this book rest as well because I can also use it to prop up my tablet when I am following a cooking recipe, or if I’m watching a movie while taking a bath. This book rest was a little more expensive than some of the other cute ones I found on Etsy (& definitely better looking aesthetically than the ones you’ll find at the big box office supply chains like Office MadStaples), but it is worth every penny. I am definitely going to be getting a lot of good use out of this product from now on.

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Well, this is officially the end of my blog post. I am running out of things to say. Oh, wait. I have one more thing to say, but I am not going into detail about it until my next blog post, which will be posted very soon. I’ll just give you a teaser of this new annoucement. I got an eary birthday present from Jian over this past weekend. My birthday isn’t until the end of next month, but since we’ll both be extremely busy within the next couple of weeks, Jian decided to gift me my birthday present early. In fact, I am using it right now as I am typing this blog post to you. I will end by saying I am completely in love with this new item, & I am so incredibly grateful to Jian for such a generous gift. It’s very over-the-top, but since I’m already using it, I guess it’s also quite practical. So, until the next post, cheers!

Today’s song of the day:

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Oh, come on guys. Do I even have to say it? You know what this post is going to be about. Nearly every time I go on a trip, I  have to bring back crap souvenirs &/or unique finds (like that handmade tooth necklace I got in Vancouver…every time I wear it, people stop to ask if I’m a dentist or work at a dentist office.) When I was in my twenties, I used to be so irresponsible with my travel expenses. I would buy so much useless stuff & never us them. As I have matured &/or learned important valuable lessons quite a bit since then, I’ve trained myself to become more practical with my finances. I don’t go around buying everything I think is cute cool.

Of course, I can’t say that my wallet is safe whenever I visit Japan, but so far on my other trips, I’ve been pretty well behaved in the shopping department. On that note, I was surprised when on my trip to fabulous Austin, Texas, I didn’t buy one thing; nope, not even one postcard. I didn’t even swipe the hotel pen from my hotel room. Ok, well, this might be considered as one purchase; I brought home a coffee mug, but technically it was Jian who bought it, & it was his idea to get it in the first place.

We found this really delicious coffee spot in Austin called Jo’s, & Jian went ahead & snagged one of their coffee mugs. I’m actually glad he picked up this mug because I practically use it everyday to drink coffee. I really love the shape of this mug. The handle is long but doesn’t stick out too muc, so I can snugly fit my hand around it without burning my knuckles. The body is taller than most standard mugs, but it’s a little skinnier in diameter, so it turned out to be a perfect fit for someone like me with small, chubby hands.

Almost immediately after coming back from Austin, I had to prepare for our work/pleasure trip to Vancouver. Jian was lucky to get a free day on our last full day in Vancouver, so we were able to relax & go sightseeing together. And guess what? We finally were able to use our Car2Go (car rental/carsharing) membership for once. I mean, for real, yeaaaah. We signed up for this carsharing/car rental service over 5 years ago when we took our first trip to Portland, Oregon, but we never actually used it until this year. This carsharing/car rental service is a dream come true to use. We were able to rent a car for a couple of hours, & we barely spent ten bucks (in USD).

Ok, this post isn’t about renting cars or drinking coffee. This post is about my tidy little haul I made in Vancouver. (I can just feel Jian sarcastically shaking his head from wherever he’s playing his Spider-Man video game today. Haha!) Let’s get down to the nitty gritty…well, I meant to say my meager findings. I tried really hard not to go hog wild with my spending, & I think I did alright.

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I don’t know what to say other than I am a sucker for FriXion style gel pens. In my purse I carry two different colored FriXion ball knock pens (one black, one blue). In my arts & crafts pen box I have almost every single color of the FriXion colors felt-tip markers. Yes, when I find a brand/product of writing tool I like, I tend to go nuts & buy one in every color. These pencil-like erasable gel pens that I found at Paper-Ya (Granville Island) are the newest style of Frixion pens by Pilot, so of course, you know what I did…I bought them of course, but I controlled myself as much as possible & only chose two colors (one soft coral, one light orange).

When I tested these pens out, they really did feel like a pencil. The barrel feels like a pencil, but writes as smoothly as a gel ink pen. Per Pilot’s standards these pens erased beautifully, with no smudges, residue, or tears in the paper. I chose these two colors out of all of the other pastel colors, mostly because I am a creature of habit & I will always gravitate towards anything pink, & my current favorite ink pen color is orange. I’ve already used these pens to make a birthday card for my oldest niece who recently celebrated her 26th birthday.


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It’s always convenient to have some generic greeting cards on-hand at home, for any last minute gifts & such. I always keep a stack of birthday cards in my crafting tool box, so I am prepared when another birthday pops up on my calendar. I have a large family, so it’s always one person or another’s birthday at any given time. Sometimes when my mom gets a last minute invite to a friend’s event, she’ll come to my room & raid my greeting cards stash.

Paper-Ya on Granville Island in Vancouver is one of my newly discovered favorite places to shop for unique stationery, books, & souvenirs. This is the same store where I found my cool, handmade tooth necklace. This shop is a great source for cute greeting cards, & I tend to stock up on all kinds of cards &/or postcards when I’m away from home because I can generally find interesting cards that I don’t always see when I’m at home.

I must say that the Hello Kitty themed birthday card is my most favorite, & I really wish I had gotten more than one. When I first saw that card, I immediately gushed over how cute Hello Kitty looked on the card, but little did I know that the card was actually an official Sanrio licensed product. What a real treat (& rare find)! I also recently used the “birthday queen” card for my older niece’s birthday & had embelished it with Swarovski rhinestones to bling it up a bit. The card was a real hit amongst all the guests at her birthday party.


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I think I spent the most time while I was shopping at Paper-Ya going through an entire bin of stickers, just to walk away with these few gems (literally). I don’t think I even spent this much amount of time picking out greeting cards. Listen, when it comes to stickers, I’d like to consider myself a bit of a connoisseur. I’ve been collecting stickers my whole life. Unlike my sister, who as a child would keep all of her stickers in a bulky 1980s photo album, I actually used all of my stickers. Well, I’d at least keep the last one or two stickers in a sheet of stickers just as a memento of that once full set of stickers.

If you didn’t know already, I keep a rather large arts & crafts tool box in my bedroom closet, & it’s filled with my most essential stationery & crafting items. I’d probably guess that three-quarters of this storage/tool box is filled with sheets & sheets of various stickers, flake seals, & decals. Some of these stickers that I’ve collected are well over 10 years old. (I mostly keep them for sentimental value.) I try to use my stickers whenever I can in various arts & crafts projects, but I end up buying more than I use, so I pretty much never run out of stickers.

When I was much younger, I used to buy whatever stickers caught my eye, even if I didn’t have any use for them, but now I’m trying to be more selective & choose only the styles that I know are universal & can be used in multiple ways, or on various art projects. I specifically chose these sets of stickers because they can serve a general purpose in my crafting projects. When I first saw the “animal life” sticker set from the Mind Wave brand I nearly freaked out in delight right in the middle of the store. I was so excited to find a physical version of this sticker set because I use the virtual version of these stickers quite often when I’m editing my Instagram photos. I always enjoy Midori branded stickers, but they’re often very small, or the designs are not easy to match with everyday craft projects. I really liked these four designs that I chose. I love their soft pastel colors & their easy ability to match with generic crafting projects (like cards & gifts).


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“No more enamel pins,” I once said. Well, I lied. I got more pins to add to my growing collection. Jian urged me to get the “salty” pin when we were shopping at Paper-Ya. We both thought this pin was hilarious & also clever. Jian was pretty excited when I got this pin & almost wanted me to wear it immediately. He said it paired really well with my sometimes salty vocabulary.

As for the “letter writer” pin, it caught my eye after searching through the many varieties of pins at The Regional Assembly of Text shop in the Riley Park neighborhood. I saw a lot of really cool packs  of pin-back buttons that really spoke to my current interests, but I was trying really hard to not buy frivolous items just because they were cute (or because I was shopping freely & unsupervised by my logical-half a.k.a. Jian). I happened to find a little basket full of single pin-back buttons & this one immediately caught my attention, 1. for the minimalist design, 2. because I still hand-write letters to my friends & family. Yes, I am old fashioned, & I am a letter writer.

There were so many super interesting things at TRAOT that I kind of wished I could’ve picked up, but almost immediately after I had arrived it started raining. I was getting worried that I wouldn’t be able to carry my purchases in the rain, & as luck would have it, that was the one day I decided to not bring my umbrella. I had been checking the weather forecast all day, & my weather app had been saying that it wasn’t going to rain at all that day, so I reluctantly decided not to take my umbrella with me. What a mistake that was!

At least my jacket was water-resistant & had a hood, but it was too hot outside for me to wear my jacket. So, I ended up heading to a nearby general store to buy a cheap $9CAD plastic umbrella (that looks like a cheesy kids umbrella when an adult my age is seen using it). Luckily the things I had purchased were able to snugly fit into my jacket pocket. You know, I really hate it when it’s drizzling rain outside, not heavy enough to warrant the use of an umbrella, but if you don’t use an umbrella you feel really soggy from the wet mist.


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I’m guessing you all know by now that I love writing lists, especially To-Do lists for myself. It really helps to keep me organized & focused because let’s face it…I can be quite scatter-brained on even the best of days. Making daily To-Do lists was one of the most valuable habits I learned from working at my previous 9-to-5 desk job. I’ve always written To-Do lists for everything.

Well actually, if you ever visit my home, you’ll find my handmade/self-designed signs & notes posted all over the house (& they’re all laminated, I might add). My siblings, when they come to visit, all think that I go totally overboard with my notes & signs, but these signs/notes posted all over the house really make a difference. It helps all the people living in the house to remember to do things like leaving the garden gate unlocked for our gardener once a week, or to not do things like not putting certain shrinkable laundry in the dryer.

I very easily use up all the notepads & Post-It sticky notes in our house, so when I can find a good notepad for all of my lists & little reminder notes, I’ll snap them up in a jiffy. I chose these three notepads for three reasons: 1. they’re compact in size (so they’ll be easy to bring home), 2. I love their soft pastel-ish colors & their checklist style layout, & 3. I have not seen any of these notepads in any of the stationery shops in my area (so I thought they were very one-of-a-kind).


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Okay, one last thing from my new favorite Pacific-Northwest city, Vancouver. Yes, it’s another enamel pin, but technically it’s not mine. It technically belongs to Jian. He said we could share it since he doesn’t wear pins that much. He mostly chose this pin because it was the most affordably priced item from one of Jian’s favorite Japanese streetwear brands Wacko Maria that he could find. He also chose this pin because he knew I was super into collecting pins of all kinds, & he wanted to share this pin with me.

These days it’s becoming easier to find popular Japanese streetwear brands outside of Japan. Before the huge explosion of internet shopping, most Japanese retailers did not have much of an online accessibility to overseas customers. You’d used to have to travel all the way to Japan just to shop Japan exclusive streetwear brands like: Wacko Maria, Neighborhood, Fragment Design, WTaps, A Bathing Ape, Visvimetc.. Then, you’d only find a few select licensed resellers/retail outposts in a few select towns, usually far away from wherever you lived.

Now with the wide range of the internet, you can easily find these brands no matter where you live, but it’s often times hard to find affordable items. So Jian & I usually look for small accessories or unique home goods from these brands. They can carry an even deeper sentimental value than just getting another t-shirt or trousers, & they’re way more interesting too. When Jian & I shop these brands, we usually grab the pins if we can find them. The pins sell out fast, & they’re usually a limited release item. I’m not as much into the military/biker theme as Jian is, but I still really like this star-shaped pin. It was definitely one of our most memorable purchases in Vancouver (aside from that damn tooth necklace I keep referencing).


Aside from all the eating, drinking, & meager shopping we did…I also did a bit of online shopping just before we left for Austin. There is this wildly addictive, weekly web comic that I am completely obssessed with called THE DEVIL IS A HANDSOME MAN. Every time a new episode/chapter gets published, I practically get heart palpitations, I am so incredibly excited & anxious to read the newest episode each week.

I have not fallen in love with a comic series as much as I have with this one since my manga obssession days many, many moons ago. I love the storyline, the writing, the illustrations, the suspense, the mystery, the drama. Everything. All of it. I know I sound like a crazy fan-person, but I can’t gush enough about this beautiful tale about fictional characters set in a fictional town in a fictional realm. There’s so much intricate details & depth to the story’s plot, & the characters are all super sexy & mysterious. I seriously encourage anyone & everyone to at least check out this comic for yourselves.

I love this comic so much, & I also seriously admire the artist so much so that once I found out this comic creator had an online retail space for fans to buy merch, I was all over it like butter on toast. I wanted to support this artist, so I ended up buying some of this person’s merch, & patiently waited one month for it to arrive by post. Let’s take a look, shall we?

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One weird thing I’d like to note is that the artist of this comic does not like to reveal their actual identity on the internet (due to their self-professed shyness). So, the artist herself illustrated her own profile picture to make herself look like a human cactus. That’s why some of her merch is cactus themed, as a nod to her funny, yet self-depricating online profile. That’s also why some of the stickers that came with the main one I bought are of various cacti. When the artist of this comic comes out with new merch, which she teased about on one of her Instagram stories, I’m definitely going to snag a few key pieces for myself again.


Well, this just about sums up my post. Gah! I never know how to write a closer for my blog posts. I don’t want to bluntly end it with some short, hurried good-bye, but I do anyway. So, let me end it here with a ‘Cheers!’ & my usual song of the day:

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Autumn is here, but it still feels like Spring weather. 💐🍂 . . . . . . . . . . #flowers #flower #flora #garden #BeautifulWeather #sunshine #SoSoft #SoPretty #cute #outdoors #outdoor #nature #CityLiving #LovelyDay #BeautyInNature #CityLife #white #yellow #orange #red #pink #purple #green #blue #LineCamera #FlowersOfInstagram #instaflowers #instapic #instagallery #PhotoGallery @linecamera_official
The sun was so bright today, you could literally see the halo ring around it. 😳☀️ . . . . . . . . . . #NoFilter #sun #sunshine #HighNoon #noontime #MotherNature #nature #outdoors #CityLife #CityLiving #outdoor #weather #sunny #SunnyDay #AutumnWeather #halo #HaloRing #TheRing #RingAroundTheSun #BeautifulDay #ICanSeeYourHalo #NoCloudsInTheSky #NoClouds #WTF #sky #BlueSkies #BayArea #280Freeway #Peninsula #CA
When the fog rolls in, we eat ice cream. 🌁🌥🍦 . . . . . . . . . . . . . #latergram #FerryBuilding #Embarcadero #IceCream #Amaluna #CirqueDuSoleil #flavor #LimitedEditionFlavor #CremeFraicheAndBluberries #HumphrySlocombe #SF #ouioui #monsieur #humphrey #MonsieurHumphrey #LickThat #hype #instagallery #IceCreamOfInstagram #CityLife #CityLiving #FoodOfInstagram #instafood #instalove #instahype @humphryslocombe @karlthefog @linecamera_official @cirquedusoleil
Flashback to that one time I had unforgettable croissants and doughnuts w/ coffee. 🥐🍩 ☕️ . . . . . . . . . . #Latergram #doughnut #donut #VanillaGlaze #GlazedDoughnut #HamAndCheeseCroissant #ButterCroissant #latte #HotLatte #LatteArt #delicious #FlakyAF #Fremont #pastry #breakfast #BunAppetitDonuts #Fremont #FoggyMorning #ILoveAutumn #CoffeeOfInstagram #PhotoOfTheDay #instapic #instalove #FoodOfInstagram #CityLife #CityLiving #SundayFunday @linecamera_official @foodieapp.official @bunappetitdonuts
And so it continues... . . . . . . . . . . #DeYoungMuseum #DeYoung #GoldenGatePark #SF #museum #WeekendMode #art #exhibition #culture #ExpandYourMind #OpenYourMind #OpenYourEyes #FamilyDay #FunTimes #abstractioncontinues #BlackAndWhite #minimalist #minimal #arrow #sign #typography #typeface #fonts #SansSerif #FreeAdmissionDay #instagallery #instapic @deyoungmuseum
Tonight’s dinner menu. 🍝 . . . . . . . . . . #HelloKitty #Sanrio #hype #ILoveHelloKitty #45thAnniversary #pasta #SoCute #HelloKittyPasta #organic #OrganicPasta #carbs #ILoveCarbs #NotOnADiet #NoDiet #凯蒂猫 #ハローキティ #パスタ #HK #kitty #cat #cartoon #character #CutestPastaEver #HelloKittyAndFriends #HerBowIsOnTheLeft #CatsOfInstagram #AnimalsOfInstagram #LineCamera @sanrio @hellokitty @linecamera_official @worldmarket

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