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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.

Pilot Frixion pens

photo 1 (1)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.

  • Faith

    Hi Lisa! I love how you love papers and pens amid all the gadgetry around. Don’t ever change. πŸ™‚ As for a bright spot in my day, it’d have to be watching my dad playing with our dogs and feeding them half a banana. Cute and heartwarming!ReplyCancel

    • Lisa

      Hi, Faith! Oh, don’t get me wrong, I’m attached to my iPhone. Haha. But some things are just much better off written by hand. ♥ReplyCancel

  • Hanah Faraon

    Hey Lisa! How are you? It has been ages! πŸ˜€ Today is a really good day because the girl I’m dating just got back from her Euro trip! Her plane just landed and I can’t wait to see her after work. πŸ™‚ You know, we should get together with our other blockmates like Charm. πŸ™‚ReplyCancel

    • Lisa

      Hanah!!! Yes, please. Would love that.ReplyCancel

      • Hanah

        Charm seems to be really busy these days, though. I’ll update you once I get her soonest available time. πŸ˜€ReplyCancel

  • Marissa

    I would to have those pens! I love doodling notes on my kid’s drawing book. These will also br great for her projects πŸ™‚ i saw your Japan trip on Instagram. Lovely photos, lovely place, would also love to go there someday. πŸ™‚ReplyCancel

  • Pia Guillarte

    Hi Ms. Lisa, I’m a college student studying Interior Design. I love visiting your blog so much because I can connect to the things that you post especially the places and things that you love. Today is our enrollment so it happens to be very stressful from commuting and arranging my schedule, etc. The thing that made me smile today is when I opened my bag, it made me realized that I never leave my house without an orange pen(my favorite color) and a small notebook. I always carry around these two things because there are times that my thoughts are really wild that i have to write or draw them down to remember things.ReplyCancel

    • Lisa

      Thank you, Pia! I can relate. Although not so much the drawing part. I can’t draw to save my life.ReplyCancel

  • KD

    Hi Lisa! Those are really nice pens. πŸ™‚ The highlight of my day was reading the Bible. “Every good gift and perfect gift comes from the Lord. – James 1:17”
    Hope I’ll be the lucky one, it’s my birthday on the 30th. πŸ™‚ πŸ˜›ReplyCancel

    • Lisa

      Hi, KD. Belated happy birthday! Unfortunately didn’t get you on random, but I hope you had a lovely day anyway.ReplyCancel

  • Grace Gloria

    Grateful not just for today but for everday. πŸ™‚ Everyday we live.. we are blessed to make choices, take chances and witness all the miracles we tend to overlook during our busy routines. Witnessed how in an instant the good day can end with one of the best when I get to win pens frol
    THE Lisa! Hahaha xoxReplyCancel

    • Lisa

      THE Lisa? Hahaha. Thanks, Grace. I always love your optimism and cheer.ReplyCancel

  • I love friction pens! Too bad black and blue lang available sa pilipinas! Soon many pretty colors!ReplyCancel

  • Hi Lisa! What a great way to get people to think of happy things in everyday life. I love that today was filled with with warm hugs, nice conversations, and great company. Simple things are always the best.ReplyCancel

    • Lisa

      Hi, Patti. It seemed like a nice way to be surrounded by good vibes. πŸ™‚ I agree! The simple things are the best.ReplyCancel

  • Maylene Esteban

    This is my fave pen! Remembered I hoard some during my business trip back in 2011 πŸ™‚ReplyCancel

    • Lisa

      These have been around for that long? Wow. Had no idea!ReplyCancel

  • Aimee de Chavez

    Hi Lisa! Thanks for sharing this great find :). I looove pens as well and I can somehow imagine your crazed look in that shop :). As for the bright part of my day…well it’s also painful because I just had an impacted wisdom tooth surgery today. Still hoping that the post-op pains will be more bearable. But now I have the perfect excuse to eat all the ice cream I want :-D. Happy Tuesday!ReplyCancel

    • Lisa

      Ouch. Hope you’re feeling better, Aimee! And yes, ice cream is always a good idea.ReplyCancel

  • kat

    wow! I have been drooling over those pens at jetpens website. we share the same love for pens and beautiful notebooks. have you seen the hobonichi’s? ganda daw ng tomoe river paper.ReplyCancel

    • Lisa

      I’m scared to look at Jetpens. I’ve been going through pencils.jp and I think that’s enough for now. I’m looking at them now. I think I prefer the Midori TN still, BUT I am loving the accessories!ReplyCancel

  • Hi Lisa! I love pens too! I can’t seem to walk out of National Bookstore or any bookstore without buying a pen or two. Pilot is one of my favorite brands. πŸ™‚ReplyCancel

    • Lisa

      Hi, Sunshine! I have the same problem. Haha.ReplyCancel

  • Hi Lisa! N@wie sis here πŸ™‚ i love your Tokyo finds as much as I love pens and papers too. Maybe because i just loce writing lol! It’s sembreak so my daughter and I spent the afternoon in our village’s playground. It was a long time since I brought her there so this made her day fun, fun, fun! Iba talaga ang feeling seeing your child so happy so this made my day extra special too πŸ™‚ReplyCancel

    • Lisa

      Hi, Erlaine! Sounds like lots of fun. πŸ™‚ Enjoy the rest of sembreak!ReplyCancel

  • Cristina Liu

    Thanks to your post, we can’t wait to start on our own sojourn in 2015. By the way, cool pens πŸ™‚ReplyCancel

    • Lisa

      That’s good to know. You’ll have a blast, I’m sure!ReplyCancel

  • Drooling! It seems a lot of us have an addiction to pens and notebooks. And i thought my friends and I were the only ones crazy enough. ❀️❀️❀️ReplyCancel

    • Lisa

      Hey, Pittipat! Dami, no? Was surprised, too. Hoarders unite. Hahaha.ReplyCancel

  • cristina uy

    Hi Lisa! Wow how nice of you to share what you love! =) Today, i’m very grateful for all the little things, even for just picking up my little boy from school. He likes to draw all the time and always borrow my stash of coloured pens. So happy to be a crafty mom here and share what i love with my son and enjoys every bit of it. Have great day! =)ReplyCancel

    • Lisa

      Hi, Cristina! Looking forward to that age. πŸ™‚ My son will start school next year. Have a good one, too!ReplyCancel

  • Marie Estimada

    Eeep! I woulf love to have those highlighters! Havent heard of Frixion before but im sure they’re great if you’re thid excited about them. It’s so hard to look for good pens that last, especially for office professionals like myself. And speaking of office, my kids were just at our office earlier for their trick or treat! So exhausting yet so fufiilling seeing their happy faces! I’m sure yoi van relate πŸ™‚ God bless!ReplyCancel

    • Lisa

      Marie, Happy Halloween to the kids! ♥ReplyCancel

  • Jocelyn Lindy To

    Hi lisa. A certified pen and paper hoarder here as well. Hoping i can go to Japan for that too hahaha.
    Today, I was able to declutter some stuff and im really happy that its getting more organized here at home…
    Hoping to win. Thanks for sharing your good find.ReplyCancel

    • Lisa

      Hi, Jocelyn! Wish I could declutter sometime soon. It’s just when I start, I can’t stop.ReplyCancel

  • Hi Lisa! I’d love to go to Tokyu Hands but photos are enough for now. ReplyCancel

    • Lisa

      Hi, Liza! Thanks for joining. It’s an experience, but probably one a person should be having regularly. Hehe. Total wallet killer.ReplyCancel

  • those highlighters are the cutest! That orange reminds me of the bespoke golden yellow I used to highlight my medical books with – achieved by mixing a half an orange Stabilo refill into a full yellow Stabilo highlighter and lots of back and forth shaking. I also mixed the pink with the peach to get a tutti fruti neon pink. And a bit of yellow into green… I think you get the picture.

    I’d even do this sometimes during lectures, and there were many days I’d be walking around in my white med school uniform all lit up by neon ink.

    I’ll admit it, I was a little bit insane.

    If I knew there were highlighters like these then, I’d have found a way to get them as they would’ve made my laundry lady a little less annoyed with me. πŸ™‚ReplyCancel

    • Lisa

      You’re the only one I know who mixes highlighter inks. Hahaha. You can order them online, I think. Just not sure where exactly yet. I’ll ask around.ReplyCancel

  • Hi Lisa! πŸ™‚ Today I love that I was able to get up insanely early so I can have a proper breakfast before an early meeting, and manage to avoid crazy traffic. The rest of my afternoon was spent working, but having the park as my office. <3ReplyCancel

    • Lisa

      Hi, Shiela! I love the cheer over waking up insanely early. I’m usually grumpy mornings. But avoiding traffic and having the park as your office sound fantastic.ReplyCancel

  • Rev

    hi! i think what i love about today is when i was able to help a beggar along lrt katipunan who isn’t even asking for anything. She also seemed to have mental illness by the way she moves. i gave her all the food and water i got in my bag and surprisingly, she thanked me. πŸ™‚ReplyCancel

    • Lisa

      That’s wonderful of you, Rev. ♥ Bless you.ReplyCancel

  • oh yes! A pen hoarder like me! I was able to get red, blue and black Frixion at National and I’ve been looking for other colors. What you have are so pretty. One thing that brightened my day yesterday was that in the first time in two weeks, I’ve not had any problems with my kids – no tummy ache, no cough, etc. It was a welcome respite in the middle of all the sicknesses we’ve been having at home. Looking forward to a same kind of day today.ReplyCancel

    • Lisa

      Hi, Karla! There’s purple, too! Glad to hear the kids are okay now. We had a few months when the three of us were alternately sick. I felt like we were just catching mutated versions of the same germs.ReplyCancel

  • Hello, Lisa –

    What makes me happy is that people like you are willing to share their happiness to others. Thanks for brightening up my day! (And look at those pretty colors, how can they not spruce up any sad day?)

    Love your work! Hope your time in Japan was wonderful.

    Abiding in joy,

    • Lisa

      Hi, Najee! Congratulations, you won! πŸ™‚ I emailed you. If you haven’t received it, please check your junk folder.ReplyCancel

  • Ohai Lisa! Hope you already put the ramen boy to bed. Anyhow, trying to get the pens for someone who puts a smile on my face every day — consequently I don’t think I’m fit to answer your question at all. I couldn’t think of anything that made me smile today. All that I am is a result of yesterday and the day before. It exponentially builds up the happiness inside me. Up to the present, it’s all about an amazing person I happen to be friends with and how my love continues to build up not within her only but a very fine circle around us.

    With much esteem,

    • Lisa

      Hi, Jed! This comment is so sweet! And you write so well. You didn’t get the pens (you missed it by one number!), but it sounds like you’re pretty lucky enough as it is.ReplyCancel

  • Hi, Lisa!

    I have this on-going correspondence with a boy I met earlier this year. I got a letter from him a few days ago, where he described how fall is like in Montreal (where he lives). He knows I dream of experiencing autumn myself and thought it would be nice for him to paint a picture of it thru his letter. Today, I re-read it and got a warm, fuzzy feeling. And now I just want to write him back, and I think these pens would be the perfect tools to return the favor of painting him a scenery from this side of the world through my words.

    With a heart currently elsewhere held and lingered,

    • Lisa

      Keisha!!! You sound in loooove. It makes me happy. ♥ ♥ ♥ReplyCancel

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 1Lost and Found 2


Up and Down

(This chubby little penguin tied to a balloon. Could barely handle the cuteness.)


Way Back HomeWay Back Home 2


How to Catch a Star 1How to Catch a Star 2

Have fun reading! If you have book suggestions, do let me know.

Photo May 28, 12 49 10 PM

A former bride of ours and our assistant both told me that the Luckies Scratch Map I picked up in Sydney and blogged about is already available locally through Quirks. I saw on their page that they commissioned Luckies to make a scratch map of the Philippines, and was thrilled. Made arrangements to get one soon as I could.

Photo May 28, 12 51 16 PM

I was pretty surprised by how large the map is, if I’m being honest. It’s taking me forever to finish it because they’re pretty big areas to cover, but it’s still pretty awesome. I’ll post a photo on Instagram of the map when I’m done.

If you have an older kid, you could make this a family activity and do it together. Corwin is still two years old, so I’m just going to enlist the hubby’s help on this one.

scratchmapI posted this photo on Instagram recently and I’ve been getting asked about it, so I figured I’d share it here, too. It’s a scratch map, where you scratch off the places you’ve been to with a coin. It’s pretty cool, and I can’t wait to scratch off more countries.

Incidentally, I remember one of our brides got this as a gift from her groom recently, and I think it’s a brilliant gift for someone you want to see the world with.

Picked this up at the Lonely Planet shop at the departure area of Sydney Airport, but it’s also available online. This is the one I got: Luckies Travel Scratch Map. I also came across these other Luckies travel goodies, which I’d love to have: Deluxe Scratch Map, if you’d like it in black, and this Travelogue.

Planning on getting the Travelogue eventually, but first, must travel more.

Edit: I just found out that this is also available in Manila through the shop Quirks! And I saw a scratch map of the Philippines on their Facebook page, too. Oh, boy.

Dear Corwin,

You were playing beside us tonight when you suddenly stopped and said, “I love you, mommy. I love you, daddy. So happy.” And then you hugged us. It was all I could do not to burst into tears. You’ve been telling us you love us for some time now, and you’ve been telling us you’re happy ever since you could sign the word. When you started speaking, you always said “happy” or “Corwin happy”, but tonight you included the word “so”. It’s a two-letter word difference, but it meant so much to me.

You make your own pirate boat out of pillows. You have a house lizard friend named George. You’re so imaginative, and so moved by music. You said the water in the fountain was dancing, so you danced with it. You love the piano, the violin, and all musical instruments. You ask daddy to play Coltrane on his phone a lot.

We went to Baguio as a family for the first time a couple of weeks ago. You watched a jazz band with such wonder in your eyes, and you clapped so enthusiastically. You rode a horse for the first time, too. His name was Avatar, and you liked that. I had to ride with you, and I was so terrified I prayed for your safety, but you loved it. You were so comfortable and, well, at peace. You sat on the horse like it was the most natural thing in the world to you. We rode on a trail for half an hour. I held on for dear life. You counted butterflies and said hello to the pony taking a bath by the trail.

Our trip to the pedia last week was very pleasant, especially after four months of crying with every visit. You talked to the doctor, and you tried on her stethoscope. I put the other end on my heart, and you looked up and smiled at me when you heard my heartbeat. It was a different kind of smile, and I think it was one of recognition. I like to think that maybe that’s what it sounded like to you when you were in my tummy, and that you remembered.

You are in my heart every single second of every single day.


Dear Corwin,

You are turning 21 months old in 2 days. We took you to the beach for the very first time last week, with your Tita Jenny and baby cousin Lucas. I love seeing you two boys together. I can already imagine the trouble you’re going to get yourselves into when he’s a toddler and can physically keep up with you.

You don’t really enjoy car rides and only tolerate your carseat for about an hour, at best, so we kept putting off taking you to the beach. But you’re almost 2 years old now and just a little bit more patient because you understand us better. Never mind that it was July and rainy.

It started drizzling when we arrived at the beach house, but we changed into our swimsuits anyway. You were tentative, stepping on the sand, but pretty soon you were grabbing sand by the handful and showering us all with it. I now know what sand tastes like.

We had the beach all to ourselves in the middle of torrential downpour. I can’t remember the last time I played in the rain. There is a pure joy that comes with it, and even more overwhelmingly so, when you’re doing it with your own child. It’s not as carefree for me now as your parent, as it was when I did it as a child myself and when your father and I did before you came along. I worried that you would get sand into your eyes, among other things. I’ve come to accept this as a reality of life as a mother, that I will always worry about you and how you are. But your smiles and laughter alone more than compensate for that, every single day. And I was truly, profoundly happy to have experienced that with you.

I wish we took you to the beach sooner, but in a way, I’m glad we waited this long. The look of wonder and realization on your face as you took it all in for the first time is something I’ll keep with me forever.



Dear Corwin,

It’s 1am and I’m writing this from Batanes. Your dad and I are here for an engagement shoot and wedding. This has been one of the most wonderful experiences we’ve ever had, but it is our third day away from you and we miss you terribly. We will be home before lunch though, and are both so excited to see you.

You’ve been quiet during our many phone calls, but Ninay and Grandpa are saying you call out for me often during the day, and that hurts a little bit. I’m sorry, love. I never want to be away for too long, so I try to limit our out-of-town jobs that keep us away for two nights or more. I only say yes to the ones that I feel would enrich us in ways that would benefit not only our work but us as people. Still, I always want to be with you.

This is one of the loveliest places your father and I have ever been to. It’s breathtaking and magical. Your father and I went hiking at Marlboro Hills, and we were the only two souls around. It was an incredible experience. It was just the two of us, an unbelievable expanse of the lushest greens, and the most stunning view at the edge of the hill, just before it drops off. The wind was blowing so strong, I could feel it wrapping itself around me. We held hands and stood there for some time, taking it all in. The moment was heartbreakingly beautiful, and I loved your father even more then. I can’t imagine ever feeling this way about anybody else.

We went to Boulder Beach and for a few minutes, he and I had the entire place to ourselves, too. All I could hear was the crashing of the waves, and the pounding of my heart in my ears. This place gets me on a visceral level.

There’s a tiny little ache in me that wants to stay here longer. It’s just so beautiful and peaceful and the land is rich with stories. I could see myself spending my days just sitting on that hill and writing. I could see myself taking pictures here every day. But this is not my home. Home is where you are, and where you’ll be is the best place your father and I can care for you. Whenever I’m away and you miss me, hug my pillow and remember I’m coming home soon. My heart is always rushing back to you.

I’m looking forward to the day when you’re old enough to appreciate this place. I will probably want to tie your torso with a rope so you don’t fall off and roll down the hill. Don’t laugh, I’m half-serious. My world would shatter if anything bad happened to you. Always take care. Do brilliant things and explore the world, but always come home to me better, wiser, and in one piece.

Then tell me stories. I can’t wait to hear them.


  • God Lisa, could your writing be any more beautiful?ReplyCancel

    • Lisa

      Oh, wow. Coming from you, that means a lot. Thanks, Jess. *hugs*ReplyCancel