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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.

hk stationery haul

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:

hk stationery haul1

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.

hk gz stationery haul

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)
hk stationery haul3

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:

hk cards collage

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:

hk stationery haul2

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:

gz stationery haul

staaaaamps!

  1. Limited edition “Year of the Monkey” base
  2. Asian girl (which coincidentally resembles the Korean cartoon character Pucca)
gz stationery haul1

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

 

Oh Cheese It.JPG

“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

I am sitting here in my local big box coffee shop, thinking about the things I’ve got to do this week. Then it hits me, like a baseball straight to the face, I haven’t written anything in this blog for a hot second. I know it’s not mandatory for me to write anything, but I’ve been trying to impose a goal for myself to write at least once per week, & I am surely losing that battle. Most of the things I write about is nothing of worldly importance or of life-altering significance anyway, so I don’t think missing one or two blog posts will make any difference.

These past few weeks have gone by in such a blur, it really makes me scratch my head & wonder where has all the time gone. Each week passes by as though it’s only been a few days. I’ve got so much going on lately with friends & family pulling me in all different directions. I am amazed at myself, at how I’m able to keep it together & stay organized. It’s fun to be busy (& not idle or lazy), but it’s a little draining on my energy, which has made me become more susceptible to getting frequent allergy attacks again.

These past few weeks, I have been to numerous birthday parties & friendly gatherings. I’ve also been furiously planning my trip to 2015 San Diego Comic Con, as well as preparing for my cousin’s upcoming Summer destination wedding in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. I feel like I’ve barely had any breathing room to think let alone update my piddly blog. This coming weekend I’m attending both my cousin’s bridal shower party and my niece’s 5-year old birthday party. I’m trying to squeeze both events into one day. That’s going to be real fun! (She says with mock sarcasm.)

On an unrelated note, I took some time out to freshen up my stationery hoard. I bought some more new pens & stickers (with a bonus free postcard) because one simply cannot survive on only one color or style. When buying pens, I almost always stick to the Zeebra Sarasa Clip Gel Ink pens. The colors I got were a light pink, gray, light blue & teal. (I realized, once I got home, that I accidentally bought a duplicate of the light blue color.) As I said before, I also bought stickers. The designs I bought this time were more feminine in style. I’m pretty disappointed that my favorite Japanese stationery shop is carrying less stickers in their inventory, but I understand from a logistical viewpoint as to why they are cutting back. (I still don’t like it though.)

Well that’s all I can think of to write in this blog post. I’m off to do some packing for the weekend. Cheers.

Today’s song of the day:

“A Beautiful Morning” by The Rascals

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When the S.O. only wants: 1. half&half for coffee, 2. light, refreshing beer for less cals & carbs, 3. whole milk so he can dilute it in a cup of ice. Your grocery list is easy. 🛒
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#HalfAndHalf #WholeMilk #milk #organic #OrganicMilk #LightBeer #beer #Sapporo #LessCalories #LessCarbs #delicious #PremiumBeer #日本 #Japan #shoppinglist #grocerylist #DrinksOfInstagram #FoodsOfInstagram #FoodieApp #LineCamera @clover.sonoma @horizonorganic @sapporobeerusa Because I just can't even with you right now. Nopes. 🚫
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