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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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Dear Friday, I love you. Sincerely, me... . z . z . z . z . z . #DreamingOfFriday #DreamingOfFridayAlready #Friday #MoreFridays #fun #meme #sleepy #sleeping #ghosts #sleep #IJustWannaSleepForever #TuesdayIsTheNewHumpDay #LOL #LineCamera
One of the best waffles I’ve ever had. Soft & fluffy on the inside, crispy on the outside. Definitely Eleven approved. (Oh, & the fried chicken was bomb too.) 🍗 🥞 . . . . . . . . . . #ChickenAndWafffles #FridayFunday #Fryday #FriedChicken #waffles #LeggoTheseEggos #ElevenApproved #StrangerFoods #StrangerThings #FoodsOfInstagram #RedwoodCity #DowntownRedwoodCity #CityLife #CityLiving #supper #dinner #LineCamera #FoodieApp @strangerthingstv @milliebobbybrown @timbersaltrwc
Don’t stop the music! . . . . . . . . . . #typography #typeface #RockwellFont #Rockwell #font #fonts #sign #NeonSign #art #WallArt #CityLife #CityLiving #neon #headphones #music #ListenToTheMusic #DontStopTheMusic #NoMusicNoLife #white #pink #TGIF #FridayFunday #SF #FoodieApp #LineCamera @foodieapp.official @linecamera_official
Yeah, it sure does. 🍦 . . . . . . . . . . #Truth #IceCream #NeonSign #sign #pink #HotPink #neon #HowManyScoops? #IceCreamSolvesEverything #LickThat #IceCreamOfInstagram #MyMantra #SweetTreat #MyMotto #Yasss #delicious #FoodsOfOfInstagram @bbcicecream @humphryslocombe @saltandstraw @mcconnellsicecreams @madebymister @smittenicecream
I’m looking forward to the upcoming sweater weather. 🍂 . . . . . . . . . . #SkatingInCentralPark #SongTitle #TrackName #BillEvans #JimHall #BillEvansAndJimHall #jazz #music #AutumnIsHere #FallIntoAutumn #SweaterWeather #CuppaTea #HotTea #CupOfTea #PourMeACup #WarmAndCozy #AllTheFeels #OverApp #InShotApp @billevansestate @over @inshot.app
Hmmm... Anime, video games, killer cocktails, & bomb food. What a way to spend a Saturday night! . . . . . . . . . . . #FallingOffTheChocobo #TheSamuraiWhoSmellsOfFlowers #cocktails #DrinkNames #YesTheseAreRealDrinkNames #drinks #FinalFantasy #chocobo #SamuraiChamploo #向日葵の匂いのする侍 #anime #アニメ#ファイナルファンタジー #サムライチャンプルー #VideoGames #TheDreamOfThe90s #LobsterPaella #BeefHeart #ビーフハート #corazon #Kaiyo #海洋 #UnionSt #CowHollow #SF #JapanesePeruvian #DrinksOfInstagram #FoodsOfInstagram #FoodieApp #LineCamera @foodieapp.official @linecamera_official @kaiyosf

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