Category Archives: Favorite Things

Paper Junkie Post: Starbucks Planner vs. CBTL Giving Journal – A Review

If you are one of the thousands of Filipinos who fueled their caffeine addiction in exchange for their annual planner – then, welcome to my world. I have spent a big chunk of November and December 2018 guzzling coffee from one shop to another. First, because that’s really how I roll and second, because the paper junkie in me just can’t pass the opportunity to have the annual Christmas planners from both coffee shops.

My 2019 Journals: a Moleskine notebook for daily living notes (expenses, bills, etc), a 2019 Starbucks Planner for my creative outputs and personal schedules, a 2019 CBTL Giving Journal for work note-taking and schedules, a Bucket List journal for goal setting and planning and a Starbucks travel journal

A lot has been written on this annual Pinoy tradition (see here and here) – in my case, it’s because I am a paper addict and I can’t help it. As you can see from the photo above, I am currently maintaining five planners. If you think that this is weird, I will gleefully point out that there’s a whole set of paper junkies who gladly maintain four to five planners (or more!).

Giving Journal is the one at the bottom, with the Starbucks planner on top  

With about a month’s worth of pages already filled up, Here’s my review of both planners:

  1. Paper – I am more partial to the paper used in the Starbucks planner. Yes, it’s thinner than the one used for the Giving Journal. But the Starbucks planner is smoother, which is better for brush lettering using the pen brush – the pen tends to glide more smoothly. However, the advantage of the thick paper used for the Giving Journal is that it doesn’t mark easily, there is less bleeding and the succeeding pages doesn’t get sacrificed.
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My 2019 Goals

2. Design – This is like comparing apples to oranges. The Giving Journal adapts a more streamlined, cleaner design compared to the Starbucks planner. While there are individual commissioned art work that heralds the start of every month, Giving Journal adapted a cleaner, more streamlined approach in its inside pages – dominated with a purple print/font and a cleaner lay-out.

Meanwhile, the Starbucks Planner is like someone played in the art lab and the planner was the result. Making use of watercolor prints, creative fonts and splashes of color here and there – the planner begs to be painted and doodled on.

In my opinion, the design for each planner work both ways. The Giving Journal is perfect for those who value content and clean lay out minus the splashy designs and flashy background. For me, it’s good for composing your thoughts, laying down your schedule and even for a bit of soul-searching mixed with daily journaling. The Starbucks planner is when you want to get creative and want your planner to stand out for the #gram.

For the cover, the best one for me is the black with gold lining option from the 2019 Giving Journal but my go-to branch ran out of that option so I chose the one with the cork cover. I am not really a fan of planner cover with too busy artwork as I have this weird fixation with clean layouts for the outside pages.



3. Content – similar to the design, there’s no comparison needed between the Starbucks and the Giving Journal planner. The advantage of the Giving Journal planner is how the content challenges the user to make use of the planner as a means to self-reflect and organize their life. This goes beyond jotting down random schedules or notes for school or work. It’s making use of the prompts to look deep within yourself and emerge a better person after filling up the whole planner.

Meanwhile, the Starbucks planner encourages and prompts its user to be more creative and add color and meaning to the otherwise mundane day-to-day task of note-taking. I am using my planner as my personal diary. I tend to disregard the dates and just mark its pages with quotes, writing prompts and artworks that mean a lot to me for a particular day.

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My final verdict? The Giving Journal for me is tops when it comes to content, while the Starbucks journal takes the cake in design and execution. Both planners are worth the caffeine overload and the thrill of trying to collect that danged sticker/stamp every December.

Just a footnote from this paper junkie: As someone whose life is too busy and too hectic for their own good sometimes, I am grateful for the quiet times when I can just fiddle with my planners and pens, just writing my thoughts, going through my schedule and basically just trying to make sense of the topsy-turvy world I live in.

You know, I have been keeping journals since I was twelve — I’ve seen my writing all through these years and I am grateful for the chance to see how I managed to grow up through the years. Of course, there’s a lot of content there that begs to be annihilated and just reading through my execrable writing during my teenage years is enough to burn my eyes. But, it also gives me affirmation that I did not grow up so bad at all. During times when I feel like giving up on life, when depression is getting the most of me, reading my journals often gives me enough lifeline to vow not to sink, and to just swim hard no matter how hard it gets.



The Nerds Are Alright

You might probably noticed that this blog remained stagnant for a good few months – I drowned in a sea of to do’s at work and I was not in a good place – occasionally battling bouts of stress, anxiety and depression which can be a harrowing experience once it hits.

Until one day, I said I just couldn’t mope forever and abandon the things that made me happy. I decided to blog again and attend events; trying to find time from my busy schedule to fit everything in.

One of the first events I attended was this year’s ASIA POP COMIC CON, which was always been in my calendar for ages. Being a big nerd since I can remember, I love collecting comic books and action figures, and would diligently troop to the cinemas for superhero movies. Yes, I am one of those people who have an annoying habit of explaining “comic book universes.” I am also a DC girl through and through, though I am level headed enough to accept that the MCU cinematic universe is kicking our dark, brooding DC asses when it comes to box-office adaptations.

I was there on the invitation of my friend Paul (extreme left) who hosted the blogging panel featuring David Guison and Chevrolet brand ambassadors Mari Jasmine and Donny Pangilinan.

After the panel, it was on to the good stuff:

The Superman figure above has been on a must-buy list for a good three or four years now. But it’s more than 10k pesos; I kept putting it off. To put it simply, it’s either I take home the little homage to (my forever love) Christopher Reeve or I pay off my numerous insurance plans. I’d rather stick to my investment track.

While going around, I also caught sight of the ongoing signing for Ready Player One lead and MCU alumnus, Tye Sheridan:

I was initially planning to register for his panel, but it was scheduled way late in the afternoon; and I hate staying too long in MOA unless necessary, so I decided to skip it.

Admittedly, the star of this year’s con is the Netflix installation which took a lot of space and attracted a huge crowd.

I don’t know if it’s just me but the crowd this year seemed a bit smaller compared to the past years that I was there. I went Saturday AM until lunch – so I might be wrong and missed the Saturday afternoon crowd.

There was also a significantly lesser selection on merchandise that was for sale because everything seemed to sell the same Funko toys everywhere I go around the floor.

After needing it out on the land of superheroes, I continued the rest of the day on kawaii land as my friend, The Filipino Rambler and I hied off to Hello Kitty cafe in BGC.

Let’s get the obvious out of the way – the place is freaking cute. It is cute personified and an Instagrammer’s paradise.

I’ve been planning to eat here even before but it was newly-opened and everyone wanted a piece of the action. It was always full whenever I go, with reservations stacked one on top of the other — so I gave up trying to score a seat. I figured, I would go when the hype finally died down – and sure enough, we were able to immediately score seats when we walked in at 3pm on a Saturday noon.

Of course, the food was adorable:

  • It was begging for double-taps; served in dainty cups and cake trays, with cute sugar bowls to boot. The cakes, of course, were designed to look cute and Instagram-worthy.
  • So, was it delicious? It’s average on my book; a good 3.5 out of 5 stars. To be fair, I only got the cake and not the rest of the mains – so there might be something amazing there that I haven’t tasted yet.
  • It was good to finally have the time to go out and enjoy the things that makes me less crazy and less stressed . I had the chance to indulge my inner fan girl and thanks to the great afternoon — I realised that yes, in spite living in the crazy adult world, this nerd is still alright.
  • Crib Goals: Kenwood makes your kitchen posh


    What is it with the U.K. and their understated class and elegance? Mix the brilliance in design with innovative minds and we have Kenwood, a respected global brand in food preparation appliances. With presence in over 40 countries around the world, Kenwood is known for its appliances that serves as kitchen must-haves in the last 50 years.

    Why should you get a Kenwood for your kitchen? Kenwood gives you kitchen appliances that looks good and performs even better. These things would look fly on your kitchen countertop that you’d probably end up inviting you friends over just to gloat on how stylish your kitchen is. Kenwood has won more than 30 awards for product design in the last 10 years alone – proving that in Kenwood, brilliance in design is never an an after thought.


    As a big fan of British brands, it’s love at first sight as soon as I laid my eyes on the amazing array of Kenwood appliances on show during a recent launch held at the British Ambassador’s residence in posh Forbes Park. The launch feted all things British and featured imagery unique to the culture like the red telephone booths, the Mini Cooper, Royal Guards, British-inspired recipes — and the highlight of the evening, a cooking demo courtesy of Kenwood Development Chef Martin Johns, assisted by a special sous chef, the UK Ambassador to the Philippines himself, Mr Asif Ahmad. 



    My heart, obviously, is set on the fire engine red espresso maker, which makes for a good conversation piece in any home. Various Kenwood products were on display during the launch, where the media present all lauded and pined after their favorite Kenwood machines. The  brand also recently introduced the award-winning Kenwood MultiOne, a mixer and food processor in one.

    Lauded for its high design quality, MultiOne mixes (pardon the pun) good design, superior technology for and durability in one setting. These were among the qualities cited after the MultiOne bagged the Red Dot Award 2015, a prestigious award given to a select number of chosen brands and companies worldwide.

    It’s always easy to settle for cheap kitchen appliances for the home. But when you think about it? These are the machines that gets used all the time – they should be durable, safe and efficient. The fact that they also look good on your counter top is also a big plus. Kenwood caters to the category of home owners who believe that investing in a home (and not just a house) should be based in quality.

    In the Philippines, Kenwood is exclusively distributed by In the Philippines, Colombo Merchant Philippines, Inc.

    For more information on Kenwood products, go to 






    Republokal has home & lifestyle covered 

    One of the best things I loved about blogging is discovering interesting brands and organizations that dare to do something unique and different. 

    There is something amazing when someone believes in a worthy causes and actually does something to forward things they believe in. This is my exact impression when I had the chance to attend the recent Republokal weekend market held at the MetroTent in Pasig. 

    Republokal is a lifestyle collective committee to promoting locally-made goods and products to the community. With heavy emphasis on proudly hand-made, environmentally-friendly and aesthetically-pleasing goods, Republokal prides itself for bringing only the best for its consumers. The team personally hand-picks it’s vendors and relies on brands who also espouses use of locally-made materials. 

    Republokal showcased artists and entrepreneurs offering lifestyle and home brands, furnitures, bags, watches, apparel, health and beauty products and food. 
    Here are some of our favorites: 

    Sarah’s Home is a personal favorite of mine because I love room scents, spritzers and the like. Their products are proudly made and developed locally and ethically, and are pure labor of love from its owner, Paula. I love their Fresh Bamboo Home and Linen Spray which I even brought to the office because my cubicle needed a mood boost. 

    Succulents + Dinosaurs = what could be better than that? Jurassic Pot wins hands-down as the cutest product on display. They are perfect housewarming gifts and are just so cute. 

    I love everything Japanese and despite my age, my dream bag is a Randoseru, those cute little square bags usually seen on Japanese grade school students. So I was pleasantly surprised to see a more matured, more affordable version of the Randoseru through Atelier Marikina. 

    My wish is for the Republokal to gain more traction and support from local lifestyle followers. Their commitment to support and promote the local ateliers, businesses and artists is truly commendable, and I have seen their commitment first-hand is helping these local businesses flourish. 

    When it has become the norm to always go for ways where it is easier to earn and quick buck, Republokal and its roster of vendor-partners is defying the odds by standing by its vision of a more dynamic marketplace for locally-made products. 

    My favorite things (Week 2): Of pen and brush addictions and all things artsy-fartsy 

    October and November are Strategic Planning months. For corporate slaves like me, these are the months when times are usually  spent stuck in a board room while the rest of the office leadership contemplates our next move for 2016. 

    In my case, this post has been burning holes in the draft for two days already so it’s only fitting I finish this. That, and the fact that I have tons of backlog posts that I need to also take care of. 

    As mentioned, to say that this week is tiring is a major understatement. Strategic planning and budgeting in the corporate world is always akin to dementors: soul-sucking, draining and dreaded exercise but truly necessary for the ecosystem. 

    This week, my favorite things are the ones who truly make me happy:  

    happiness in a pot of paint

    It’s the smell of wet paint, a wet brush leaving puddles and marks on a  crisp white paper. It’s creative exercises and learning new font style. 

    I am a frustrated artist, the kind whose lack of college funds pushed me to choose between a visual arts school and a communications degree in a state run university. This is a frustration which I feel will haunt me for the rest of my life. So now, in the middle of spreadsheets and Comm plans, I sneak in hand lettering practice and pining pegs on my Pinterest board for font types and styles. 

    Watercolor is a medium that is still tricky to me but am already excited to try it out. I don’t know if I will still enrol in additional classes or would just wing it on my own, considering the number of tutorials and classes online. 

    I tried using the Aquash water brush by Pentel and I find it easy to use and with lesser threat of spills – perfect for a newbie like me still learning the tricks of water color painting. 



     For markers and pens, I am partial to Artline and Z!G Brand. For pen calligraphy, I use Artline flat pens, from number 1 to 3. For other hand lettering requirements, I usually use ZIG’s line of colored markers. I usually get my pens from the National Bookstore branch in Glorietta 2 where they keep a nice stock of various styles and types. 

    The last one I’ll feature this week is one I am very excited about and are already eagerly awaiting its release: 


    already excited to get the new Planner from CBTL!
    I am a big fan of the Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf (CBTL) and could probably live on Genmaicha tea for the rest of my life.  I loved the fact that you can sit in peace in any CBTL and have ulit coffee and pastry without the threat of dealing with noise or shrieking groups of people busy taking 100 photos of their Venti Mocha Frappucino and posting them on FB. 

    I love that this brand is very heavy in terms of supporting the arts and crafts community of Manila. I am also a fan of their understated branding and creative execution on their store collaterals and materials. 

    One of the things I love about CBTL is their Giving Journal. The one I have currently serves as my work journal and usually goes through a beating just trying to manage my schedule as deliverables. 

    I am eagerly looking forward to the roll out of the Giving Journal 2016 sticker collecting activity which begins tomorrow, 23 October 2014 across all CBTL branches nationwide. (More on this on a separate post) 

    What about you? How do you stay creative? 

    My favorite things (Week 1): books, soaps and all things good for the soul

    Thought I’d begin a new series for KamikazeeGirl by sharing more of the things that I love. 

    Being a typical Taurean, I am the kind of person that can get very stubborn when it comes to the things that I like. I can get very picky when it comes to what I use, more so on the food I eat. Are you also the type that when you like something, you will use it over and over until you tire of it? That’s how I am. 

    I have this idea to share with you, via a weekly installment, some of my favorite things and maybe even inspire you to share with me some of your too! Do drop me a note on the comments. 

    Soaps with natural ingredients 

    My current work is really stressful. There are days when my only means to escape stress is to have my “Me Time” usually spent in the company of my pens, sketch pads or books. That is if I am not blogging or doing any writing on the side. Or I take a bath – a long hard bath where I am not time consciousness hurrying for work–and I take my time enjoying the cold shower. 

    I love bath soaps with natural ingredients — like fruits and flowers mixed into the soap bar itself. I love the fresh smell of fruits on a newly opened bar of soap. 

     I am currently using “Flake Away Scrub in a Bath” by Skin Naturelle. This soap smells like kiwi and strawberry and it smelled really good. The first time I opened it, I am almost tempted to lick the soap because of how good it smelled. I’ve been using this for a few days now and I love its effect on my skin. It’s like having a built in loofah or scrub in a soap due to the kiwi seeds which served as a natural scrub. This is perfect to use on dry areas since it scrubs old or dry skin away. Aside from the kiwi and strawberry, the soap also contains glutathione, papaya extract and moisturizers. The fresh smell also lasts the whole day.
    I am looking forward to using my “Pretty Me All-In-One Soap” made of tomato extract and glutathione. While getting fair skin is the farthest from my mind, I love it’s moisturizing and anti-aging properties. Skin Naturelle Soaps retail for PHP 130 per bar. 
    Heneral Luna: The History Behind the Movie 


    I have so much respect and love for the movie, “Heneral Luna” because it made me realize that the local industry is capable of making decent movies. 

    I hated the local movies. I find it-with the mindless comedies, slapstick humor, kabit tearjerker sand saccharine fares for the younger set-tasteless and a waste of the PHP230 usual cost of a movie ticket. But then, Heneral Luna came along. 

    This movie showed that given an intelligently-done movie, Filipinos will flock to the cinemas and watch it over and over again. Young Pinoys will use social media to invite others to support the movie and refrain from downloading via torrent or buying pirated copies. Given a good movie, Pinoys can appreciate history. Heneral Luna showed that you don’t have to put big, studio names in order to sell a story. This movie showed that there is to the local film of industry than the mindless drivel usually available on screen. The movie has now earned more than PHP240M and still counting, something which was not possible before with local historical films. This early, Pinoys are already waiting for the second installment of the movie about the life of the boy general Gregorio del Pilar. 

    I loved the book because it clarified a lot of the aspects of the film, and gave more insights on the life of the fiery General Luna. (Did you know that he is known for his generosity and that Rizal considered him a good friend?) I will gladly support any undertaking related to the film, if only to encourage more writers to publish historical books. For PHP120, it is worth the price and is a very good read. 

    CBTL’s Break-O-Day 

    Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf (CBTL) is my husband and I’s happy place. We usually go to CBTL weekly for our usual bonding. This is where we hash things out when we argue and where we usually discuss our plans and dreams for the future. 

    Aside from the coffee and tea, CBTL makes the best meals. My favorite is their breakfast menu simply because I love eating breakfast food no matter what time of the day. My current favorite is the Brek-O-Day, a platter composed of big focaccia bread slices, 2 sausages, herbed scrambled egg and a side of salad, served with jam and butter. I usually wash it down with a steaming mug of Genmaicha tea. 

    These things usually help me get through an otherwise tough day… Or week. Sometimes, even a cup of hot tea, good food and good reads can restore balance in my otherwise cha price universe.