Motivational, My Life Story, Products

Find Beauty Among the Ruins

Last summer, I went on a journey to explore the beautiful country of Greece. Little did I know that I would be overwhelmed with how seamlessly ancient ruins could weave itself beautifully into the fabric of modern Greek society.

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The majestic temple of Zeus standing tall and proud in the heart of Athens. Just look at how those columns have stood the test of time. Imagine how every piece have been put together by the ancient Greeks. It never ceases to amaze me.

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At Syntagma Square with these hungry pigeons.This first stop was followed by a magnificent trip to learn the history of the Acropolis Stadium. This was just my first glimpse of Greece.

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We were walking around the city of Athens during the first day and I couldn’t help asking: “What’s that structure on top of the hill?” My question was answered the next day when we climbed up to see that what is there is so much more than what I had expected.

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Seen from the city is Acropolis, the highest point of Athens. Beautiful isn’t it?

Sometimes in life, you can’t see the breathtaking view until you muster the courage to climb the mountain.

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During our day-trip, we ventured on a boat ride to see the different islands surrounding Greece. One of them is this quaint island called Hydra. This little island is a town in itself, with little shops and cafes near the water. What’s fascinating is that the townspeople here have donkeys to get around, nope, no cars!

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This breathtaking view where the sky meets the beautiful Greek dome-shaped architecture was taken from the island of Santorini. We stayed here a couple of days, and if I could, I would’ve stayed much longer. There were numerous mini-shops greeting passersby along the alley, from nifty book nooks to one-of-a-kind trinket stores.

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The town of Nafplio. Bustling with life through it’s diversity in art, music and delicacies.

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I love the bliss whenever I draw my adventures on my journal. It helps me remember not only the place, but also the little memories that come with my travels. When I look back, it’s the little moments that touch my heart to this day. Such as the time my mom and I shared a large Greek pretzel-like dessert, the ice cream cone I had in Athens despite the biting cold winds or the fact that not a day goes by without a serving of delicious Greek yogurt (yummy!), and the time when I looked down from the highest peak of Greece and thought to myself:

“All these man-made bricks, statues and temples  are truly majestic, but nothing compares to the beauty of nature that my God has surrounded it all with”.

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I am often asked how I find time to draw during these trips. Despite the hustle and bustle during the morning tours, I try to find time to relax in a cafe as a short pit-stop to write down the events that happened during the day. Always remember to write down the important details, you can sketch them later in the evening (if you aren’t too tired!)IMG_4458

The Greeks have a habit of drinking Frappe every now and then. I find that I also belong to this place where it is bursting with art, history, culture…and yes, coffee!

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The mystical trail of Delphi, after a hike atop the mountains of Greece.

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The Dyonisus Theater. It’s size and design is jaw-droppingly (if that is even a word) – incredible! It may be huge, but dropping a coin or stomping your feet at the center circle of the theater can be heard throughout the entire stadium.

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For those who are wondering, what is Greek food like? Three words. Fresh, Simple, Flavorful. This is my favorite, which I have learned to make at home. The Traditional Greek Salad. (Bell Peppers, Onions, Lettuce, Olives, EVOO, Tomatoes and Cucumbers, Generously topped with Feta Cheese!)

Aside from the Greek Salad, I have enjoyed the Greek Yogurt, to which none can compare. Not a day passed in Greece without us having a portion of this!

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Travelling is a perfect opportunity to experience something new. I give myself time to think when I travel, knowing that the adventure that lies ahead is so much greater than what I have left behind. It’s such a memorable experience when you put your thoughts and emotions down on paper, because every step of the journey is an adventure.

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I’m opening classes once more for a basic lettering workshop, and since vacation is just around the corner, I thought a travel journal would be perfect! If you’d like to learn the art of handlettering and how to start your own travel journal, you can

Register for the workshop here:

2015 TRAVEL JOURNAL WORKSHOP

Hope to see you soon!

Say yes to new adventures. 🙂

*All photos taken with an iPhone5

XO,

stamp design

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Products, Tips and Tricks

Tools of the Trade (Features and Reviews)

Hello everyone!

I’ve been having a lot of inquiries regarding the materials I use for my art and lettering. This has inspired me to create a blog post for the materials I’ve tried throughout my journey. These pens, inks and watercolors are truly portable little rainbows that have brought much color into my life!


 

PENS

FILED NEOFINE FINELINER

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Review:

The Filed NeoFine Fineliner Set is truly a box of rainbows. Here is an artwork I made with the fineliners. The tip of these pens (0.40mm) enabled smooth writing and doodling. However because these pens are water based, make sure you don’t keep coloring / shading on the same areas as the ink will seep through the back of the paper (I used 80gsm paper). Using thicker surfaces such as vellum and 100+gsm might work better with this water-based pen. Overall, it’s perfect for note-taking in class. I’m sure I’d write with this in school to keep my notes fun and colorful!

 


 

BRUSH PENS

TOKYO FINDS BRUSH PEN

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Review:

These bright-colored pens are dual-tipped. It’s versatility makes it the perfect go-to for calligraphy and lettering.The two tips give an advantage for shading in large areas (brush tip) and for creating details too (slim tip). The ink is bright and not too thick that it would seep through the paper.

Shop: TOKYO FINDS

MARVY LE PLUME BRUSH PEN

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Review:

The Le Plume brush pen possesses a lighter hue compared to others. The ink is pretty thick and more water-based than most, it will seep through thin paper. Though I love the way it slides through the paper smoothly, and how closely it resembles the feel of using an actual brush.


MARKERS

SHARPIE FINE POINT

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Review:

One of my favorite brands! The all-around marker! These markers provide bold and bright colors, perfect for the creative at heart. Best to use thicker boards or paper, and all other non-porous surfaces when using Sharpie.

DONG-A PLAYON

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Review:

Although not the typical artist go-to, I love the black (twin tip) marker of Dong-A. I used this one for outlining and for shading, more often than not for my watercolor illustrations and lettering works.

ZEBRA MILDLINER

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Review:

This one is meant to be a highlighter, but I always find a different purpose for my coloring materials. I bought mine from Japan.


WATERCOLORS

KOI WATERCOLOR

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Review:

I love, love, love my koi watecolor set. Although it’s a bit more costly, it’s a purchase I didn’t regret. The colors are bold and bright, just the way I like my palette. The watercolors are concentrated as well, use sparingly for softer tones.

KURETAKE GANSAI TAMBI

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Review:

I knew I should’ve bought myself a set of these during my trip to Japan last year! Luckily my boyfriend got this for me as a birthday surprise. The palette is very concentrated, meaning you can use just a little and have a solid texture.

PRANG WATERCOLOR

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Review:

The most affordable and has found it’s way to be called the “sweet” watercolor. Why sweet? It’s thick consistency makes the colors bold and bright. The watercolor has a syrupy thickness when added with a little water. Most people say that ants keep finding their way to their Prang palettes. Despite all that, yes, it’s also an artist’s must-have.

Shop: National Bookstore


FOUNTAIN PENS

LAMY

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Review:

My first ever fountain pen. Also a gift from my boyfriend when he came back from Germany almost a year ago. I love that they have branches here in the Philippines so you could simply buy the refills (it comes in lots of different colors too! Next time I’ll try the neon yellow!).

PILOT PETIT

Review:

Very handy and writes smoothly. The tip is smaller than the usual fountain pen, but it’s the perfect travel fountain pen. I got mine from Japan and took home a couple of refills too, just in case I don’t get to visit Japan anytime soon!


For a complete list of tech-pens that I use, you can visit my other blog post about them here:

TOOLS OF THE TRADE (Part 1)


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Motivational, My Life Story, Thoughts

Find the Blessing in Everything

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It troubles me, how to begin this post.

How can I give something I don’t have? How could I share a lesson I have not yet fully learned?

How does one learn the value of finding the blessing in everything?

In our lives, there comes a time when we find ourselves in the wilderness. This is when we constantly search for answers, hoping to finding the road map to teach us which way to go next. Oftentimes we travel, hoping that time away from the city would clear our thoughts. We try to unplug and disconnect from social media, expecting that distance from our outside noise would enable us to focus better. We think we finally have what we’ve wanted – TIME: Time to rediscover ourselves, time to do what we love and time to think things through.

Sometimes this is enough to find our way back.

But sometimes it’s not.

No matter what you do, no matter how much time you have in your hands, things still don’t seem to make sense. It’s never a pleasant experience – because it isn’t meant to be one. It means it’s time to learn a new lesson; one we could not learn on our own.

For a couple of weeks now, the Lord has been teaching me this valuable lesson:

When you find yourself in the wilderness, when God is silent, when nothing you do seems to help you get back on track…

When life is as dry and hopeless as the desert, learn to rejoice even for a single drop of rain.

In the midst of crossroads and confusion, learn to be thankful when there is nowhere to go but down on your knees in prayer.

Everyone around you may have left your side, but don’t forget to look up because you are never truly, completely, alone.

Trials and temptations that meet you along the way may be difficult to overcome, but know that it is never impossible.

Closed doors and missed opportunities are certainly not dead ends, rather see them as blessings in disguise.

Your mind may be filled with doubts and fears, learn to find rest in the Lord, when did He not guide you through?

Stay strong as you journey through the wilderness.

Be an optimist. Learn to find the blessing in everything.

“Cast all your cares upon Him, because He cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7

READ MORE: God Accomplishes What Concerns You

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Motivational, My Life Story, Thoughts

Nowhere Else I’d Rather Be

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I have a friend who is going through a difficult stage in life right now, one with much sorrow and heartache – but a pain that is necessary nonetheless. I’ve been through the same thing two years ago in December, when the person I held dear left me in the pit of despair. That is why I’m secretly afraid of  January 1st, because that New Year’s Eve, was the loneliest day of my life. During those dark days, I sat and cried, asking God “Why” this happened and “What” I could have done to avoid it or just to have another chance. I didn’t find solace in the comfort of my friends, but rather, found it in the loving arms of my parents, whom I have rebelled against during my teen years.

Despite the feeling of having my heart ripped, trampled on, crushed and abandoned, I praise and thank God for that humbling experience. All my life I’ve been looking for the kind of love we read about in novels. I thought that by finding someone, it would help me find happiness. I went in and out of relationships, eventually realizing:

“Why did I end up exactly where I started… and worse?”

It’s both funny and wonderful how God gives us trials to wake us up and get us out of the cycle, at one point or another.

A few years have passed, and I’m here: Writing a blog post about the excruciating and indescribable pain of heart breaks, creating artworks for Him, living each day by faith and proud to be SINGLE. I’ve had enough of finding a little fling, no more commitments because of the butterflies in my stomach and it’s the end of finding happiness in the wrong places. I’ll keep my ears closed from empty words, and my eyes open for actions that speak much louder. Ladies, don’t ever lower your standards, stand by what you want in a man, and wait… Wait patiently.  The best things in life could take a while, well, isn’t true love worth the wait? Why risk your heart going through all that pain again?

Don’t over-analyze, we’re not Sherlock and enough with the guesswork. If a man loves you truly and faithfully, you WILL know. Don’t settle to be someone’s “Maybe“.

And most of all, don’t stop praying for God’s Best in your life. Aim to be nowhere else, but in the center of His will. 🙂 Trust me, this place is AMAZING.

 

For everyone who is hurting inside, may this song help you soar higher than the height you’ve fallen: Life Me Up

 You lift me up when I am weak
Your arms wrap around me
Your love catches me so I’m letting go
You lift me up when I can’t see
Your heart is all that I need
Your love carries me so I’m letting go

XO,

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