Jeff and I went to Japan last week for a couple of shoots. Our first shoot was in Tokyo, and we had a free day to go around. You better believe I spent most of it in Tokyu Hands and Loft. I LOVE paper. Pens, too. Fountain pens, Japanese gel pens, pigment ink pens. Jeff said I looked crazed inside the shops, and I’m inclined to believe him. I lose touch with reality when I’m around writing and art supplies.
I’ve heard about Pilot’s Frixion pens before, and was psyching myself up to walk right past them, but they’re erasable pens. By friction. It was pointless resisting. I got the markers and highlighters at Tokyu Hands. On the way home, at Kansai International Airport, I picked up blue and purple Slim ballpoint pens as a last hurrah. Should have gotten more. They turned out to be my favorite of the bunch. Hoarder problems.
The ones on the right side of the photo above, the Point 05s are available in Manila. Got those at National Bookstore a couple of days ago. As far as I know, they’re the only Frixion pens available here as of now. (If you know where they stock the others locally, do let me know!) They have black, too, but I didn’t get it because it looks more grey than black.
Which brings me to the giveaway: the highlighters. They’re called Frixion Light and the colors are so lovely, but I just realized after trying them out on my Moleskine above that I really have no need for them. I considered selling them to buy more pens (haha), but I’ve been really happy lately and figured it’d be nice to make someone else happy, too. So, if you like pens and live anywhere in the Philippines, you can join by leaving one comment below. Say hi, tell me something you love about your day for some good vibes. I’ll draw a random number from Random.org and match it with the comment number to draw the winner. Raffle closes on Thursday, October 30, 2014, 8PM GMT+8.
Update: Thanks for joining, everyone! Glad I made it a raffle, because I couldn’t possibly choose. Drew a number at random from 1 to 26, and got 24. Congratulations, Najee! Will email you in a bit.
I remember five years ago, when Jeff and I got hooked on vinyl records, we couldn’t find new records anywhere in Metro Manila. There were old ones being sold at Makati Cinema Square and Cubao X, but that was mostly it. I had to ask relatives to ship new ones to me from overseas. One time, a whole bunch of records got bent from shipping. I may have cried a bit from the heartbreak. So when Satchmi launched and started selling records in Astrovision branches, we were thrilled. We got to have a steady supply of vinyl, at last. We limit ourselves to one new record every month now.
Been following Satchmi on Instagram so I knew they just opened their very first shop in SM Megamall a few days ago, but it was my friend Benz‘s message with photos of the place that convinced me to drop by. I went there and fell in love, as expected. There’s lots and lots of records to make any music lover happy. There are a couple of listening rooms. There are books, letterpressed notebooks, coffee, and film. It feels like they packaged all the things I love into one little analog lifestyle shop. Definitely worth a visit.
Satchmi | 4th level, Fashion Hall, SM Megamall | @satchmi on Twitter | @satchmiteam on Instagram
I’ve always found childhood to be this magical thing, and I always used to return to the bits of mine I remember whenever things were rough, but I don’t anymore. I’m in yours.
You’re still two years old. You won’t remember much of these days. You won’t remember laughing so hard your little round face looked like it was about to explode when your father and I lip-synched Queen to you when you were three months old. You won’t remember you and I raising our index fingers and wiggling in the car to Semisonic when you were barely a year old. You won’t remember jumping around and squealing with happiness while finger painting. You won’t remember your father going down the giant slide with you, and reading you thousands of stories. But I will. I get to keep these things forever, and that is where you’ll find them if the time should ever come when your memories aren’t enough. Until then, I’ll keep them safe with me.
I think your childhood is filling in all the little cracks in my soul.
Whenever Jeff and I are shooting abroad, I always clear an hour to pop by the nearest Typo shop. I go nuts for their little knick-knacks and stamps and paper. Basically, it’s a bunch of ridiculously cute things you don’t really need but want anyway.
There’s been a little stall in Trinoma that’s been under construction for what feels like a year now with Typo written over it. I’ve gotten used to seeing the tarpaulin cover every time I pass by, but today, they finally opened! Typo is officially now in Manila.
There are lots of charming little notebooks and chalkboards that I didn’t get around to taking pictures of. Should be worth a visit. Enjoy!
Update: Below is a panoramic shot of the shop by Jenki Fernando.
Typo | Ground Floor, Trinoma Mall, near Cotton On
You are 2 years and 9 months old now. Last month was a bit rough for mommy. I broke my leg and needed an operation. It’s been a difficult adjustment because I’ve always taken pride in being independent, but your dad has been so amazing. He’s been taking such good care of me, and I love him even more now, if that’s possible. He’s our hero. I’m getting better by the day, and I’ll be walking again soon enough. For now, I’m learning how to be patient. And we’re going to be making jokes about mommy’s robot leg for a very long time.
You have been unbelievably sweet most days, taking care of me and giving me lots of hugs and kisses. You pat my good leg and ask me, “Is this leg okay?” And when I say yes, you hug it. You bring me flowers after your walks around the village, and tell me to “Get better now.” Not soon. Now. Oh, sweetheart. You are impatient, too, just like me. We’ve been working on that though, and I’m proud to say we’re both improving.
Late last month, you woke up, jumped on the bed, and said, “No more diapers!” We were surprised and asked you if you were sure, because we were heading out for lunch. You insisted, so that was when we started potty training. We were in no rush to potty train you, really. You’ve been advanced on most things so far that I figured, just like everything else, you would do it when the time is right. Your dad and I figured that we could either do it sooner and work on it longer, or wait until you’re ready and have it over and done with quicker. We opted for the latter, and true enough, you got the hang of it quickly. You are now the proud owner of many, many Batman briefs, and are learning not to show them to everyone. :p
I’m not quite decided if you’re exceptionally funny or your father and I just have a knack for finding the humor in most things, but you’re always cracking us up one way or another. I love the laughter that fills our home.
You adore our 8 year old rabbit, Marbles, and want to snuggle him often. Earlier this month, you petted him, saying, “Happy Best Friends’ Day, Marbles!” A few seconds later, in a smaller, higher pitched voice, you replied for him, “Happy Best Friends’ Day, Corwin!”
There’s a little girl in the village who looks for you often, one of your two best friends. She calls out for you from the street. One time she was shouting your name at 7am, I could hear you shout back from downstairs, “Wait a minute! Wait a minute! I’m eating!” I was half asleep then, but it was still hilarious. You went to her birthday party while I was in the hospital. Your aunts took you there because I couldn’t, and I promised you you could go. I’m told the birthday girl screeched when you walked in.
You’re currently trying to type on my laptop, too, and are inserting random characters everywhere, so I’ll take that as my cue to stop and play Pirates Covered With Clay with you now.
I have so many stories of you, of us, and I carry them with me wherever I go.
One of my favorite finds during our Sydney trip was Oliver Jeffers. He’s an Australian author, and that’s probably why I haven’t seen his books in Manila before. I think bookstores here tend to stick with books written in American English. I’ll think it’s cute if our son starts spelling it “colour”, but I don’t think his teachers would like that very much. Nevertheless, these books are amazing and tug at my heart. They’re incredibly well-written, the illustration is insanely adorable, and I really need to hug that little penguin.
Reading is something we value very much in our home, and finding great books is always such a treat. Corwin loves being read and told stories to more than anything, so every time Jeff and I have trips out of the country, we always make a point to hit a couple of bookstores. In Sydney, we were able to drop by five. These are the ones we’ve read to him already so I’ll share them here. You can find all these and his other titles on Amazon. Will share more children’s books these coming weeks. In the meantime, here are some pages from the books.
LOST AND FOUND
UP AND DOWN
(This chubby little penguin tied to a balloon. Could barely handle the cuteness.)
WAY BACK HOME
HOW TO CATCH A STAR
Have fun reading! If you have book suggestions, do let me know.
I learned to ride a bicycle last month, at the age of 31. I didn’t learn as a kid. My dad tried, but he let go and I fell. He meant well, and this was the way everyone else I know learned, but I never went back on one. One of my biggest fears is falling. I’ve pretty much accepted the fact that I would never be able to ride a bike. Once you reach a certain age without learning, you just sort of accept it as your truth, that you’re going to grow old without knowing how.
But one spring afternoon in 2012, I saw people riding their bicycles by a river in Kyoto, and it was a beautiful sight. It felt peaceful. And I was saddened thinking I’d never be able to do that. After making arrangements for our October trip this year, I decided to learn. I got a foldable bicycle last April 2, a Dahon City Vybe. I had a more affordable Peerless foldie in mind, but it wasn’t in stock and I had to wait for the next shipment to arrive. The Dahon felt right when I tried it on, so we got it before I could change my mind.
I named her Kawaakari. It means “the gleam of last light on a river’s surface at dusk; the glow of a river in the darkness”. I’ve been chronicling my learning adventures on Instagram and Facebook, and when I posted a photo of it for the first time, I wrote “We’re going to prove that you can teach an old dog new tricks. And if we don’t, well, expect her to be on sale in a month or two.”
I sold her about an hour ago, not because I gave up, but because I learned and wanted to move on to a full size bike already. I don’t get to ride enough to make good use of two bicycles, and it seems wasteful to hold on to it. It went to another couple, Jets and Rhona, who are friends of ours from the wedding industry. He is going to teach her how to ride on it, too, and that makes me happy because even though my story with the foldie has ended, it’s starting a new one with another. My little bicycle, the teacher, is moving on, too.
My goal was to ride a bicycle in Japan, but since I learned before our trip to Australia, I was able to ride a bike there, too. (Thanks to the lovely Cat Juan for her amazing guide to Sydney.) That was my first time on a full size bike, and I wasn’t sure what to expect, but it came easily. The feeling of finally being able to ride one is indescribable, even more being able to do it in another country. Continent, even. For people who’ve been cycling since they were toddlers, they probably won’t understand the exhilaration, relief, and pride of learning it as adult, because they picked it up easily as kids. But for someone who honestly never imagined ever being able to ride her entire life, it’s priceless. It’s not earth-shatteringly important, and I won’t be winning any cycling medals anytime soon or even in this lifetime, but it is a personal victory against fear and defeatism. One other thing I have learned as an adult is to take my joys in everything I can. Life is too short to be too cool to be happy.
LEARNING HOW TO RIDE A BICYCLE AS AN ADULT WITHOUT FALLING, DYING, OR MAIMING OTHERS
Our son is 2.5 years old now so we were looking into getting him a Strider bike. It’s a no-pedal balance bike, specifically made to teach little kids how to ride minus all the falling that comes with teaching it the traditional way, which is to push them along and let go. This way, the child learns to ride on his own, in his own time. And then it occurred to me that I could learn this way, too. This is why the foldie was perfect to learn on, because my feet were flat on the ground with it. I did a lot of online research before and while I was learning. There’s pretty good advice here. There are also videos available, and a funny article on The New York Times on The Terror and Humiliation of Learning to Ride a Bike at 33.
Jeff was so incredibly patient teaching me and encouraging me, and I will always be grateful. My husband is my hero. On regular (walking) days, I’m already a handful. Me on a bicycle is chaos and murder on wheels. He walked beside me while I struggled to find my balance. He would cheer me on and he let out such a huge whoop of joy when I learned how to pedal that I lost my balance. Haha. We would go to UP Diliman, on that quiet little downhill road between the College of Music and Film Center, and we would go back and forth, back and forth for an hour every night for 2-3 days until I could coast with my feet up and pedal through 5 meters. Exactly one week after I got the bike, I rode around our village and did over 3 kilometers. I think I could’ve learned it sooner, but I didn’t want to rush it. If I fell, I knew it would set me back with more trauma and fear. So we went with slow and steady.
Posting about learning on social media has been helpful. I’ve gotten comments from other adults saying they didn’t learn as kids, too, and that they’re trying to or are going to try soon. It made the whole thing feel a little less silly, and it was all so encouraging.
There were times when I just couldn’t stay on, and they were EXASPERATING. What got me through was thinking about how I’ve given birth, that I am a mother, that the female body was built for so much more amazing things, and that I’m the most stubborn and obstinate person I know. Surely, given all that, riding a bicycle can’t be that freaking hard. I think it was that hilarious indignation that got me through the first few meters, if I’m being completely honest. It’s the fear that stops us more than anything. Wear a helmet and don’t be shy about wearing elbow pads if you feel you need it. Slap on some knee pads, if that helps at all. (I skipped that, but I won’t judge you if you do. Hahaha.) Then just ride. Keep your eyes on the road ahead, not on the road beneath your wheel. Learn how to brake. Avoid people, cars, and lampposts, and if you must swerve violently and hit something, always aim for the plants. Above all, keep your sense of humor with you.
I came across Craftsmith when The Delightful Miss Joyce posted photos of their shop on her Instagram account, way before they opened. I followed them on Instagram then, and have been falling in love with Mia and Kitty’s work since. (Incidentally, Mia is also the woman behind Mobu Days. The pillow we got from Urban Abode was designed by her.)
Craftsmith opened very recently, and I was able to drop by this afternoon. I tried to keep it together but I may have gushed a bit. I was just so ridiculously happy to be there in that space, I felt like hugging myself. I get a little high from being around great design.
More than anything, I think it’s the love and passion that goes into it, the thoughtful design and curation of all the lovely handmade things in their little shop, and this is something that always gets me. I will always love a good story, and this place is overflowing with it.
CRAFTSMITH | Unit 2J Crown Tower, 107 HV Dela Costa, Salcedo Village, Makati City | @craftsmithliving | firstname.lastname@example.org
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