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Today it’s raining pretty heavily (& steadily, I might add). It’s a perfect day to sit down with a big cup of coffee & hammer out a blog post. So, guess what I did before I went to Taipei? Well, while Jian was busy looking up all the different places we could stop to have food &/or cocktails, I was busy researching various stationery shops I could visit to grab some supplies for my ever-growing horde of arts & crafts supplies. I love getting stationery & craft supplies whenever I visit Asia. I find them more functional & cuter (& sometimes more affordable) than the stuff you can find in the States.

Man, I think I’ve already talked about this a couple of times before, but it’s so much more affordable to go on a stationery spree in Asia & bring back my haul than to buy all of the same stuff on the internet or at an import stationery shop here in the States. For example, if I want to buy a sheet of stickers, they’re usually marked up $1 to $2 dollars more than if I just wait to go back & visit family back in Asia. As much as I make it seem, I don’t actually travel back to Asia very often. So, I don’t really make big hauls like this that often. I try to keep the things I choose very functional & practical. I tell myself over & over to only choose the things I absolutely need, but sometimes I don’t listen to myself, & I end up purchasing a few frivolous items as well.

So, are you sitting down? Do you have time to read this ridiculous post? You might want to grab a comfy chair & something to drink. With my ability to go on & on & on, you’ll probably be here a while.

Let me start this off with Paddington Bear. I’ve loved this little illustrated, Britt-y bear ever since I was a young child. If you’ve seen my Instagram feed, then you’ve probably seen my stuffed Paddington doll. I used to love watching the children’s program on the PBS channel & reading the books. I don’t know the exact story as to how I came to possess this delightful bear, but I believe my brother brought it back as a souvenir for me when he took a trip to London. I’ve always cherished this bear & took gentle care of it. It’s because of this furry Brit that I’ve grown to love orange marmalade & baths. I also love London!

I love collecting postcards. I’ve probably got over 300 that I’ve collected since I was a teenager. These two were kind of one of those frivolous purchases. I know I don’t actually need them, but I couldn’t resist getting them when the graphics on the front include two of my favorite themes: Paddington & London. Each of these postcards cost $1.50 USD, so I didn’t feel to guilty “splurging” on them.

I love writing myself notes & reminders on paper. I find it so much more practical than setting a reminder or calendar alert on my smartphone because for one thing, I tend to neglect regularly checking my phone for notifications. Also, I can’t press the “snooze button” on a paper note. I can tape these notes anywhere they’d be most visible (& hard to ignore), like on my bathroom mirror, or on top of my car keys.

I have a lot of little generic blank notepads & Post-It ™ pads, but what could be cuter than a Paddington Bear themed notepad?? Shinzi Katoh is one of my favorite illustrators, & I love all of his products, but those products are so incredibly expensive to buy where I live. Don’t even get me started on buy this stuff on the internet. The prices are usually double the retail price. This notepad only cost me $3 bucks, & its got lots of pages, so it’s well worth the effort to get it.

Oh my gahhh, what is this hole I’ve dug myself into with these cute-as-cuss hand towels?!?! I think I swore up & down last time that I wouldn’t add to my pile of hand towels, but I was lying (mostly to myself). How do you expect me to resist this cuddly brown bear? And beefeaters? And Union Jack flags? Annnd Paddington’s suitcase filled with jars of delicious marmalade?! Well, this guy came home with me anyway. I love this & cannot wait to use it.

November is calendar & planner/diary/journal season in Asia. Every bookstore &/or stationery shop will have at least two shelves stocked floor-to-ceiling with these guys. I love buying calendars in Asia mostly because of the variety of functionality, sizes, shapes, & themes. Paper calendars are my favorite way to write down important dates & upcoming appointments. It helps keep my life organized in a fun way. Plus, I love decorating them with stickers & my poor attempts at drawing.

The best part about Asian calendars are the large squares in which you can write things down. It really irks me when a calendar page has a large graphic that takes up ¾ of the page & the actual dates are written in small letters at the bottom. I like calendars with larger spaces for you to write things down. This calendar has a quirky theme of polar bears, penguins, & panda bears doing random everyday things. My favorite part of this calendar is how clear & concise the numbers & months are written.

Ok, so this calendar is not exactly mine. I know what I just said about these types of calendars, but this calendar is not for writing down information. This is just a generic calendar that will be placed in a common space in our home, mostly to accommodate my mom. My mom is always occupying our common space, & she’s always grabbing the calendar to look at dates. I always put a calendar every year in this common space for my mom to use. It’s become a fun tradition that I get her a new viewing calendar every year. She likes to wait & see what designs I get each year.

I got this calendar at a new home goods shop that recently opened in Taipei called Niko And… . This shop was so fun to explore. We got there right when they first opened, & it’s such an inviting store. One-third of the store is a craft coffee shop brewing fresh pour-over coffees & espresso drinks with delicious fresh baked pastries. The other third of the store is dedicated to young men’s & women’s fast fashion. The last third of the store was all housewares & miscellaneous goods. That’s where I got this mini calendar. Jian helped me pick this out. He liked the colorful illustrations of everyday objects.

I got this Snoopy calendar for the home office desk where the family PC resides. My family & I are big time Peanuts fans (maybe we’re Snoopy-philes), so I thought this would be cute on our shared workspace. There were a few Snoopy calendar choices, but I chose this one because it looked the least busy, yet still colorful & whimsical. I also went for the large squares style, so we could all write shared family events & appointments if we wanted to. You know, on an unrelated note, I always wanted a beagle dog when I was a kid. I specifically wanted a white one with black ears & a black patch on the rump, but I heard those breeds of beagles don’t exist, so…we don’t have a dog.

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I’m trying to learn how to stamp. I go to the arts & crafts store Paper Source, & I get so envious when I see their handmade-by-the-staff greeting card samples. I always wished I could make a greeting card with stamps, but I could never get the stamp pattern/graphic to look straight, or get the letters to match up. Then, while I was browsing the shop Tools to Live By, I saw this stamp printing kit. I grabbed this kit, thinking that I could make a lot of envelope labels. (I don’t like my sloppy handwriting anyway.) I don’t think you can clearly see in my photo, but this kit comes with both sets of Uppercase & Lowercase alphabet letters, as well as numbers & basic punctuation marks. I’m so relieved that this stamp comes with various plates as guides, which make it so much easier to stamp words in a straight line. I can’t wait to use this kit on future correspondence!

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This is not quite a stationery related item, but I did get it at the stationery store Plain Stationery & Homeware Café. It looks & feels quite generic & flimsy (being that it’s made of lightweight plastic), but it’s very practical & useful. After all, it is an emergency whistle. I used to have a generic metal coach’s whistle on my keychain that was given to me by my mom, but somehow I lost it. I’ve always thought that it is good to carry a whistle, so that I can signal someone (or make a loud noise/distraction) in case I get in a bad situation. I really like the sleek look of this whistle & how slim it is, so it fits perfectly on my keychain. Also, don’t underestimate this whistle. While it may look flimsy & small, it produces a nice loud sound when used.

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I love coffee themed stationery, & Tools to Live By had a ton of them. I tried to only choose the items I thought I would get the most use out of. One of those such items was this octagonal notepad. I love the minimalist design with a simple navy blue graphic on the cover. I especially love the phrase written on the cover, “Great ideas start with coffee”. I tend to agree with that statement, which is probably why I’m slightly addicted to coffee. As I’m writing this blog post, I’ve already started using this notepad. The paper has a nice weight & thickness to it. The sheets are thin, but not too thin that pen ink will bleed through. I tend to jot down a lot of little notes & numbers when I’m sitting at my computer, especially when I’m trying to copy or remember a color code to use on Photoshop. This is a great notepad for just such a use!

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Circling back to my blurb about stamping, I got these three miniature stamps. They’re so tiny it’ll probably be hard to see the image once it is stamped, but I’m determined to improve my stamping skills. I got these three stamps at Plain Stationery & Homeware Café, & when I saw them I had so many crafting ideas flowing through my thoughts. One idea I had was to use one of these stamps on the corner of an envelope or card & draw something around it. I still haven’t decided how I’m going to use these stamps yet, but I’m excited to try them out.

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Let’s get to the meat of the haul…the stickers. First off, these are three random decals I got from various places (listed in the photo). The first two decals (the holographic decal from United Arrows & Sons & the angry Donald Duck decal from Faith) were free. The round decal with the campfire only cost me $0.75 cents USD, & I got that one at Niko And… . I’ve already started using these stickers & have plastered them all over my belongings. One of these decals I’ve already affixed to my beloved crafting box that I’ve named Trevor. What can I say? I like to put stickers & labels all over my personal objects.

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I’ve mentioned this before, but I’ll say once again that I’m not particularly fond of flake stickers (a.k.a. individually die cut stickers). They’re often too small & thin, & it’s hard to peel off the backing. However, I found two sets of flake stickers that I thought  were too cool to pass up. I have a set of stickers on my phone’s photo editing app that’s of random middle-aged men working out & doing various weird athletic poses. It’s called Middle-Aged Sports Club. Those stickers are so hilarious to use every time I’m editing a photo for Instagram. These flake stickers totally reminded me of those guys on my app. It cracks me up every time I look at them. I also love how each guy has a random name. Even thinking about it now makes me chuckle.

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One of my favorite Japanese foods is お握り(a.k.a. rice balls). My aunts back in Japan make the best rice balls I’ve ever eaten. They’re able to make the rice so fluffy & delicious. I’ve made rice balls on my own before for my mom’s friends, & I was quite proud of them, especially since they all said they really enjoyed them.

I saw these flake stickers of various rice balls, & I fell in love with them. I’m kind of disappointed that the pickled radishes, though, look like rolls of gold coins. They’re supposed to be lines of sliced pickled radishes (& yes, the radishes are a bright yellow color when they’re pickled). My dad loved pickled radishes, but I don’t particularly like them. However, like my dad, I do enjoy the pickled plum..but only when they’re mixed with rice. Alone, pickled plums can be too sour for my taste, so I like eating them in rice balls to cut down the sour taste. On another note, the steam pots of rice don’t look like what they’re supposed to be unless you really look at them closely. The wooden rice paddles look like deflated khaki balloons. I think my favorite sticker out of the whole set is the rice bowl. I particularly love the raw egg at the top of the rice. It’s so cute!

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I’m terrible at keeping promises to myself. I said that I wouldn’t buy any more washi tape, but I ended up getting more. Oh my cuss, I have to tell you something about washi tape. In Taipei, washi tape is so popular. They’re at every bookstore & stationery store. When I visited Eslite Bookstore’s flagship store, there was a whole room on one floor dedicated to only washi tape in various sizes, patterns, & every color imaginable. There’s even tape sizes large enough to be used as gift wrapping paper. I was so overwhelmed at all the varieties of washi tape, & I was determined at the start of my trip to not cave in, but once those happy endorphins start coursing through your body, you can’t help but feel very itchy to grab all the cute things you see & plop them in your shopping basket.

As you may recall, I said earlier that I love coffee related stationery, so when I was atTools to Live By, I picked up these two washi tapes that were exclusively designed by the shop. I thought I might not be able to get these patterns of washi tape anywhere else (online or otherwise), so I snapped them up without even giving it a second thought. When I saw the fruits & veggies washi tape, at first I thought the pattern was rosette flowers with lose leaves. It wasn’t until I actually started using the tape (yes, I’ve already used it) when I finally noticed the pattern. As for the roses with stripes, I just loved the vibrant colors. Most of the washi tapes I have are solid colors with no patterns, so this one seemed like a good choice to round out my selection of paper tapes.

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I also hauled a bunch of sticker sheets from various stationery stores all over Taipei. Since I got new calendars I wanted to get stickers I could use on my calendar, like labels & infographics. I like adding sticker details on my calendars to fill up the blank squares, & to make my upcoming appointments look at least somewhat appealing.

As for the two sets of neon animal stickers, I don’t know exactly why I chose them. It’s like the “shiny nickel” effect happening here. When you’re on your way to do something specific, but you see a shiny nickel off on the side & divert your attention to go after the nickel. That’s what happened here. I was looking at one section of the store when these guys came into view. Thus my attention was averted, & I ended up bringing them home with me.

One of my favorite illustrated characters from the San-X brand is the adorable sock-wearing black kitten Kutsusitanyanko. Whenever I see a new set of Kutusitanyanko stickers, I get them. This is probably my favorite set of stickers out of the bunch. In my paper crafting projects, I probably use my Kutusitanyanko stickers the most.

Finally, I got a sheet of Mount Fuji stickers. Every time I see a set of Mt. Fuji stickers, I always waffle on whether to buy them or not. This time, I decided to get a sheet once & for all. When I look at them, I am reminded so much of my dad, who used to hike up the trailways of Mt. Fuji in Japan with his Boy Scout/Eagle Scout troop. My dad was the troop leader of his Eagle Scout troop, & they often hiked up Mt. Fuji & camping around the area. My dad used to tell me lots of stories when I was a kid about his hikes up Mt. Fuji with his troop, & those stories have stayed vividly in my mind even until today. Oh man, I love to hear all of the adventures my dad went on when he was living in Japan.

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I love getting birthday cards & random greeting cards in Asia. The varieties are endless, & the designs are much cuter than anything at Hallmark. Plus, they’re sometimes cheaper. Well, I know the pop-up cards are cheaper. Most of the pop-up cards here in the U.S. can cost anywhere between $6 to $10 USD for one. These two pop-up birthday cards I bought in Taipei only cost me $7 USD for both.

Whenever I travel back to Asia (as in Japan), I like to stock up on all sorts of greeting cards & share them with my mom. We have a large family with lots of birthdays throughout the year, & we both have lots of activities on our schedules that might require a nice card for the host(ess). I’ve already used one of the cards from this stack (I used the coffee card to send to a friend). That shows you how often I use greeting cards.

…And here is my pièce de résistance. I always look for new pen styles & ink colors when I go stationery shopping in Asia. I mostly look for styles & colors that are hard to find back at home. For example, 4 years ago (the last time I visited Tokyo), was the first time I saw the Pilot Frixion Ball Gel Ink pens. I bought a few of the pens along with the ink refills. I didn’t see this series of pen in the U.S. until 2 years after I had already bought my pens.

This series of pens that I bought (shown in the photo above), the Zebra Sarasa Gel Ink Clip, is pretty common. You can easily buy them online or at the import stationery shop, & they’re approximately the same price everywhere. However, when I go overseas I try to look for the limited edition colors or sets (like the Kumamon &/or Japanese Culture sets shown in my photo). I saw these pastel colors & could not resist them. I don’t see these colors very often in the stationery shops where I live, so if I see them elsewhere, I will snap them up quickly.

This will probably be the last of the Zebra Sarasa pens that I will buy for a long time. However, I’ll definitely get more ink refills. This series of pen is my favorite, so far, to write with. The pens come in various thicknesses from super thin (0.3mm) to heavy thickness (1.0mm), but the best part is that even if you use the super thin pen, the tip will not scratch or tear the paper. Also the ink does not bleed through, & the gel ink writes smoothly without patchiness or blotchy ink spots.

Well, this pretty much concludes my stationery haul post. That was as long for me to write as it was for you guys to read. I hope I made some sort of sense somehow. I tend to over explain sometimes, & Jian says I use too many examples to explain something simple. Like I’ve mentioned before, if you want to see more photos & get real-time updates on all my travels & adventures, you can follow my Instagram feed. Until then, cheers!

Today’s song of the day:

“Brick Yellow” by BLAZO

Hey! Should I be this happy/relieved that I didn’t get sick until after my trip to Asia? I don’t know. Well, I’m very much relieved that I didn’t get sick at all during my trip to Asia, but I did, however, get a cold & a fever when I got back home. My body just can’t adjust to the rapid climate change fast enough. It was super hot in China, then coming home, it was quite chilly, & that sent my body’s immune system into a tailspin, which resulted in myself catching a cold that became compounded with a small fever. I am now at 87% recovery, if you can claim regaining an appetite for Taco Bell fast food burritos to be a sign of good health. But hey, at least I’m back to the point where I can sit up long enough to write this blog post & not feel like the room is swaying, or like I want to physically recall what I ate for lunch. Yuck! Anyway, let’s get on with it then.

One thing I love to do whenever I travel to Asia is to stock up on a ton of stationery goods that would usually be imported, over-priced, & expensive back in The States. This is especially & exceptionally true whenever I go back to Japan (because everything made in Japan is so damn cute & resistance is futile). So, needless to say, I pretty much gorged myself silly while I was in Hong Kong & Guangzhou on stationery goods, as well as a bunch of souvenirs for friends & family. Did I ever mention to you that I ABSOLUTELY LOVE GIVING GIFTS??? Yes, I love to give presents to friends & family even when it’s not any special occasion. Hey, I can give as well as I can take…but I like to give more. Ok, I’m going to jump right into the thick of things & just post my G*d D*mn photos already.

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Zebra Sarasa Push Clip Gel Pens

I am a Zebra Sarasa Gel Pen addict & fanatic, especially of the 0.5mm tip sized pens. I think I have nearly one of each color in the entire pen line. When I first saw the “pastel milk” series of pens at my favorite online pen shop, I nearly creamed my pants. I was tempted to buy every single pen right then & there, but ultimately decided to wait. However, when I finally saw these pens in Hong Kong, I could no longer resist them. I saw these pens at the popular bookstore chain JP Books (by Joint Publishing Hong Kong) near my hotel, so I grabbed every color I could get my grubby little hands on. Since they didn’t have the entire pastel milk series of colors on hand, these are the colors I chose:

  1. Yellow (not part of the color series)
  2. Milk White
  3. Milk Pink
  4. Milk Orange
  5. Milk Green
  6. Milk Red

Aaaannnd…do you know what’s the best part? The bookstore was having a “buy three gel pens get one free” event that day! Now, you know I won’t pass up that offer. However, here’s the catch: the “free pens” only come in black ink. You don’t get to choose your own “free pen”. These are the free pens I ended up picking:

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I also have a passion for washi tape. My storage box that I keep all my tapes in, which I named Pierre, is now full to the point of nearly bursting. The same goes for my pen box, which is named Leroy. Leroy got so full, I had to take away some unused & unwanted pens to make room for my new additions. Now, I’m not saying that I’m exactly a stationery hoarder, but I’m getting there. I’d much rather say that I’m an avid collector.

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washi tapes

Some of the washi tapes I got at JP Books in Hong Kong. Others I got at a different bookstore called Eslite Bookstore in Hong Kong. The rest of them I got at a third bookstore called “方所书店” (a.k.a. Fang Suo / a.k.a. Commune) in Guangzhou. These are the designs I chose:

  1. London print
  2. Pink cherry blossoms
  3. Metallic gold Japanese geometric pattern (this metallic color is more bronze)
  4. Blue & Red plaid pattern (this pattern is a comedic parody to the cheap plastic woven shopping bags popular in Hong Kong)
  5. Metallic gold with white pin-stripes (this metallic color is more yellow-gold)
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Sanrio washi tapes

I should also note that I am a Sanrio fanatic (more accurately, a “purist” fan). I’ve been an avid fan & collector of Sanrio goods since the early 1980s. My sister’s biological father used to manufacture goods for Sanrio, so my sister would get a lot of free goodies from her dad when she was younger. As she grew older, she would pass down a lot of her unwanted stuff to me, which I cherished greatly. Also, I would get a lot of cool & unique Sanrio gifts from all of my aunties & uncles from Japan, which turned me into an instant fanatic. So, obviously when I saw these washi tapes, I snatched them up immediately. Ok, I’ve seen these tape designs in the U.S., but they’ve always been too expensively priced, so when I saw how affordable they were in Hong Kong, I bought them right away. These were the designs I chose:

  1. Sanrio characters with a vintage stamp pattern
  2. Timeline of Hello Kitty designs
  3. Hello Kitty’s family & friends pattern

I saw one roll of tape with a pattern of Hello Kitty faces in a neon colored artsy avant garde design, but I didn’t get it because I thought it looked too weird, & I probably wouldn’t use it in any of my DIY craft projects. I am a purist Hello Kitty fan at heart, & I covet the very traditional Hello Kitty style from the 1980s & 1990s, NOT the new, modern designs of Hello Kitty wearing rocker clothes or wearing “nerdy” glasses.

On top of pens & craft tape, I also got a few greeting cards. I love the unique designs of greeting cards from Asia. A lot of the cards will have intricate cut-paper patterns or a cool pop-up effect. Plus, they don’t cost much more than U.S. based Hallmark greeting cards. Most of the cards I chose were birthday cards, since those are the category I tend to use the most. I also got my friend a “new baby” card, since he became a new dad two months ago. These are the birthday cards I chose:

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birthday greeting cards

How could I write a stationery blog post without including the most important item of all? S-T-I-C-K-E-R-S! Yes, folks! I bought even more stickers. My sticker box, Trevor, is almost bursting at the seams as well, & he is already huge! Jian says I have a sticker problem, but I think buying more stickers is a great solution to my problem. These are the stickers I chose:

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my sticker hoarding continues

  1. Motor scooters
  2. Chocolate bars (this sticker has some metallic elements)
  3. Sail boats (actual stickers are primary colors, not neon colors)
  4. Pink cherry blossoms with cats
  5. Tea cups, saucers, & plates (this sticker has some metallic elements)
  6. Korean lovely bear
  7. Shiba Inu & Japanese theme
  8. Miscellaneous animals
  9. Metallic schedule stickers with borders, frames, gems & ribbons
  10. Schedule stickers for the calendar
  11. Metallic seal stickers with message: Especially For You

When I was in Guangzhou, Jian took me to the modern art museum that recently opened. It was beautiful, & we learned quite a bit of history about the city. I originally had no intention of buying anything from the gift shop, but Jian encouraged me to buy these fun name stamps. Of course, he just wanted me to buy the stamp pad with his name, but I ended up getting more than just that. These stamps are cool because you can pick whichever stamp base you’d like, & all of the stamp pads can be interchanged. (They were also cheap as hell & extremely kitschy, so why not?) I chose these stamp bases & stamp pads:

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staaaaamps!

  1. Limited edition “Year of the Monkey” base
  2. Asian girl (which coincidentally resembles the Korean cartoon character Pucca)
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If you can read Chinese characters, congratulations! You’ve figured out our names. 😐

  1. Jian’s surname
  2. Year of the Monkey (this came with the monkey base)
  3. My mom’s maiden name (got this for my mom, just for fun)
  4. My surname (or is it? Mwahaha!)

We are getting towards the end of this blog post. No, wait! I have one more thing to show you. Well, it’s not exactly stationery related. Actually, it has nothing to do with stationery at all, but I thought I’d include it in this post because, a. it’s a part of all the crap stuff I brought back, & b. it won’t fit anywhere else. Now, I normally don’t post anything about beauty or makeup, but I recently found out that one of my all-time favorite Japanese brands MUJI now carries their own beauty & makeup products. I only picked out three things to start because I don’t normally wear makeup, but I wanted to try them out. In the U.S., most, if not all, of our MUJI shops do not carry the full line of cosmetics (nor do they carry the awesome line of food products & groceries made by MUJI). These were the items I chose to try out:

hk muji mini haul

Me so pretty!

So far, I’ve only tried the cuticle oil & the nail care oil, & I must say that I am in love with them! They work really well, & none of these products were even wallet draining. If the lip gloss works just as well as the other beauty products, then I’m so glad I took a chance to try these items. For those of you who don’t know what the first two items are, 1. cuticle oil is supposed to moisturize the skin around your finger nails to prevent unwanted dryness & peeling, which makes the hands look sloppy & unkempt, & 2. nail care oil often gives your finger nails a healthy looking shine & is supposed to strengthen your nails to prevent brittleness & chipping. Of course everybody knows what lip gloss is used for. It’s for you to eat. No. It’s for kissing. No. It’s makeup. Duh.

Well, that concludes the end of this long-winded blog post about stationery. I still have to post my pictures from my trip, but I am still sorting through all of them, & I’m editing the photos Jian has shared with me, so that’s going to take a while. Plus, I’m still getting over the last remnants of my recent illness. I promise you, my immune system is not as weak as I make it seem. I am a healthy person, & haven’t gotten ill this many times in a rather long stretch of years. I just don’t know why I’ve been prone to getting ill so easily in the more recent months. I’ve been taking good care of my body & myself, & I will continue to do so. Until then, cheers!

Today’s song of the day:

“The Ghosts of Beverly Drive” by Death Cab for Cutie

The Ghosts of Beverly Drive

 

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“Oh, Cheese it!” is a new slang phrase that I made up for myself. I use this phrase in negative situations, rather than using my usual dirty longshoreman cuss words because 1. it sounds cute, & 2. because it’s safe to use around children and prudes. Instead of saying “Goddammit!” or “Shit!”, like when you stub your toe really hard, or when you drop something important, I would say “Oh, Cheese it!”. It’s cheesy (pun intended), I know, but I like using this phrase. I think it’s fun.

Now, I’m using this phrase because something negative happened. For the first time in a long while, I finally made a bad stationery purchase. How could this  have happened? I am usually so picky & choosy when it comes to buying stationery. I can browse the store for hours trying to look for the perfect notepad, pen, sticker, or other office supply item. I used to be the type of person who had to buy everything “cute” at the stationery goods store, but that quickly turned me into more hoarder than collector, so I gave away a lot of things I either had no use for or grew disinterested in. That groomed me to become more selective in the types of stationery goods I buy & use.

Well, I fell back into old habits again. I got caught up in the razzle-dazzle of the Japanese discount store Ichiban Kan. I was picking out some things to fill a stationery care package I was making for my younger cousin. (We have been very close ever since she was in diapers.) We both share a love for Japanese stationery & Japanese culture, & I just felt like spoiling her a little bit, since she never asks for anything. I saw so many pretty & cute, yet ridiculous goods at the discount store. I just couldn’t help myself. While I was picking out things for my cousin, I was also picking out extra things for myself. I must have been running on some sort of endorphin high, or perhaps something in the air fried my brain because I just grabbed whatever I thought looked cool without properly giving it my thorough, self-perfectionist examination.

Compared to some of the other times I’ve walked out of stationery stores, I think this purchase was quite modest. For my cousin, I only bought a Mount Fuji sticky notepad & a pad of animal shaped notecards. For myself, I bought a few sets of stickers & washi tape rolls. Let me lay it out straight for you. I.WAS. KIND OF. DISAPPOINTED. This was the first time I’ve ever been disappointed in my stationery goods purchase. Well, hold on a minute. I wasn’t completely disappointed with my purchase. The stickers were okay, but it was the washi tapes that really bummed me out.

This was the first thing I picked out, a roll of dog stickers. First of all, I really like how the roll is perforated, so you can tear off individual stickers, or if you’re like me…to shorten the used end of the roll to make it look neater/tidier. I really like the breeds of dogs used for these stickers. I’m so happy that there’s a Shiba Inu in the mix, as well as a Pomeranian that looks like the famous super pup Boo. Mostly, I couldn’t say no to the oh-so-adorable pug! Sorry for my lack of photography skills; my photos don’t do these items any justice. These stickers look matte in my photo, but they’re actually semi-glossy.

collage2

The next few things I picked were these sets of stickers. The first sheet says “和ものシール” (wamo no shiiru) which means “traditional seal”. The word “seal” is how the Japanese use to describe the word “sticker”. I was initially drawn to these stickers because of the rabbits! How could you deny those cute little bunnies? Plus, I really liked the traditional design & the rice paper texture of the stickers. As you can see, I’ve already used one of the rabbits. The other two sets are “flake seals”, which in Japanese “flake” is used to describe die-cut stickers.  The set on the top has a forrest theme, while the set on the bottom are all kinds of birds. I really like these stickers because they are thin stickers, but I’d say they are pretty durable. I’ve already used one of the flower stickers, & I like how the stickers are slightly transparent. These stickers also have a rice paper texture, but a more smooth feeling. I haven’t tried any of the bird stickers yet. They look a little bit too soft in color for my taste, but I guess we’ll see how it all turns out.

collage1.png

Here’s where things take a sour turn. I was so excited to see so many different patterns of washi tapes at the Japanese discount store. Washi tape rolls can get very expensive (especially if you get ones with metallic foil accents). I try not to buy washi tape unless they’re on sale or at the discount store. Of course, I wanted to buy all of the tapes, but I forced myself to pick & choose only the select ones I knew I’d purposefully use. I got these three washi tape rolls. The first roll says “Thank You” in various languages. The gold lettering is supposed to have a slightly metallic shine, but my bad photography skills strike yet again, & you can’t really see it here. The second roll says “ありがとう” (Arigatou) which means “Thank You” & “ほんの気持ちです。” (Hon’ no kimochi desu.) which means “A feeling of gratitude”. I really liked the third washi tape roll because it looked quite Scandinavian & will look nice on wrapped gifts. Boy, oh boy. I can’t even with these damn washi tapes! Sure, they look pretty, but their looks are so deceiving! These tapes feel like every other washi tape out on the market, but they are far from the same quality. They don’t even stick to anything you use them on (not even plain white paper). I tried using the flower pattern tape on an envelope I was going to mail to my sister, but the ends kept curling up off the envelope, & no matter how many times I tried to really press down on the tape, it would just peel its ends off of the envelope. I’m pretty bummed right now that I bought these duds. There goes $4.50 USD right down the drain.

collage3.png

Well, that’s a lesson learned for me. Cheap is cheap, I guess. You better believe that the next time I won’t be so quick to buy everything off the shelves, & I will carefully inspect the items before I buy them. Until then, cheers!

Today’s song of the day:

“She Said, She Said” by The Black Keys

She Said She Said

 

I haven’t really splurged big time on myself in a long time. Yes, I’ve gotten myself a few little trinkets here & there, but I haven’t exactly gone buck wild in a long while. So, this past week, I kind of went on an online shopping binge.

Firstly, I purchased a few necessities. I recently finished remodeling a room in my house, so I bought two BELL+HOWELL Ultrasonic Electromagnetic Pest Repellent wall plug-ins. I’ve got these little suckers pLugged into every single room in my house, & I pretty much swear by them to chase away 80% to 90% of the creepy crawlers (a.k.a. spiders, mice, ants, etc.). I usually buy them on Amazon, & they’re relatively inexpensive. I’ve been using these plug-ins in my house for nearly 3 years, & I’m quite happy with them. They’re quiet & have an extra outlet built in, so you’re not taking up precious outlet space. So they don’t repel every single bug that finds its way into your abode, but they DO keep out MOST of them, & that’s good enough for me.

Secondly, I bought a pair of wedge-heeled sandals to go with the formal dress I’m planning on wearing to my cousin’s destination wedding in Mexico. Her wedding is coming up in one month, & I’m very excited. Like I’ve said many times in the past, I’m not very fashion-minded, so I felt as though it was quite a bothersome chore to look for accessories & accoutrements to go with the equally hard-to-find dress to wear to a wedding. I think I do like to go shopping, a little bit, but I don’t get amped-up shopping for clothes or shoes like most women my age. However, I will say that I LOVE SHOPPING FOR GIFTS / BUYING GIFTS FOR OTHER PEOPLE. I also love picking out children’s clothes…especially for my young nephew & niece. I guess it’s sufficient to say that my wedding ensemble is nearly complete. I am contemplating on whether I should buy a hair clip to do up my hair for the event or not. We will see.

Next, I bought myself an extremely personal item that I do not wish to reveal its identity here. I will say that I’ve been wanting this time for a very long time, & I am extremely happy that I got it for myself. Well, I wouldn’t buy this item for anyone else. That would just be way too intimate & a little gross. That is all I’m going to say about it.

Lastly, I went crazy with stationery goods again. I bought three new sheets if stickers (sorry, no photo), & I splurged on even more pens. Yes,I know I’m nuts. I admit it. I just absolutely adore Pilot’s “Frixion” series of pens. These pens are incredible. The ink is so smooth & does not bleed or become spotty. They also erase cleanly. No other erasable pen series can boast their cleanliness like Pilot can! Seriously, these pens erase like a dream. I always keep two Frixion gel pens in my purse at all times. I recently learned about their felt tip color pen series & fell in love with them. They give off a watercolor texture & are so easy to use. The color pigments are so vibrant & beautiful…not as light as you might imagine with watercolor type pens. I bought my first set of these pens in a retail store. I ended up picking every color this store had (which was limited). I then found the other pen colors online. I decided not to get every single color, & only chose the colors I really wanted. Here is a picture of the pens:

The top row are my existing pens. The bottom row are the new addition to my set. The colors I have are:

  1. Honey Yellow
  2. Rose
  3. Black
  4. Red
  5. Brown
  6. Baby Pink
  7. Yellow
  8. Navy
  9. Pale Orange
  10. Pink
  11. Violet
  12. Orange
  13. Blue
  14. Mauve
  15. Light Blue
  16. Coral Pink
  17. Cobalt Blue
  18. Grey
  19. Green
  20. Emerald Green
  21. Lavender
  22. Soft Green

I think I may have gone overboard just a little bit. Pierre, my pen box/case (YES, I NAMED IT!!) is nearly reaching his max capacity. I may have to get a larger soon. Until then, cheers.

Today’s song of the day:

「殺し屋危機一髪」Koroshi-ya Kikiippatsu (The Asassin’s Asassin) by SOIL & “PIMP” SESSIONS ft. Sheena Ringo

My head has really been out of it for a while. It’s hard for me to sort out all the hundreds of thoughts coursing through my mind at this moment. Lots of things have been going on that I feel like I’m just swimming though a dense fog.

I went to my very first acupuncture session last week. My mom’s cousin (who used to be a semi A-list TV star in Taiwain) married an acupuncturist (who also practices Western medicine at a hospital). I went to see this aunt last week and started my regimen of herbal remedies. Even though I, myself, am Asian, this all feels quite foreign to me. Nonetheless, I am excited for the outcome of my sessions.

Aside from all of my personal health matters, there have been frequent family events that have kept my schedule very full. I’m not a girly dresser, but I got all dolled up for my cousin’s semi-formal bridal shower party. I even got a fancy manicure, just a little treat for myself. I got my manicure at a Japanese nail salon that I go to every once in a blue moon. This is the design I picked. It’s a pink & glitter gradient nail color with various-sized gemstones on each nail. I love going to this particular salon because they are so creative, talented, & they do an excellent job as well as provide friendly service. This manicure lasted over three weeks & did not chip or get in the way of my everyday activities. The gems were also affixed so securely that I even had a difficult time removing them when my manicure finally decided to expire & give up on me.

I also recently visited the Japanese thrift store DAISO and picked up a few things I’ve been wanting to try for a while but didn’t want to spend the money on. I got two sets of fabric textured washi tape and a pair of heart-shaped scissors. Firstly, washi tape in general is very expensive, especially the cloth kind. The washi tape I got at this thrift store isn’t a very good quality kind, but it only cost me $1.50 for a set of three, so I don’t mind the mediocre quality. Secondly, I saw a pair of ergonomic heart-shaped scissors at my favorite stationery shop a few years ago, but I felt it was expensive ($14) considering it’s supposed to be more for cuteness rather than function. I was very excited when I saw those exact scissors for only $1.50 at the thrift store. Now I can try it without splurging on a fun but functionless craft tool.

Finally, I close this blog post by showing a photo of my latest craft project. I was sitting at my local coffee shop as I was writing this post & eating my lunch. I used the scraps of my lunch packaging to make this little wand. The materials I used were: long straw, hot beverage cup sleeve, sticky label from my lunch wrapper. The tools I used were: my imagination, my hands, & MUJI travel scissors (that I always keep in my purse). I had fun making this ridiculous little thing, but it brightened up my day, & I hope it brightens your day too. Cheers!

Today’s song of the day:

“No, Not Now” by Hot Hot Heat

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