Tag Archives: creatives

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.
1 of 365
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.

if you

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.



musings specifically intended for the day that went for naught

I am supposed to be at home today — lounging in bed, usually in my sleepwear (boyleg undies and wife beaters –why do they call it a wife beater, anyway? Playing with Momo while planning my next steps to — world domination? (hah! if I may borrow, Ms. Jessica Zafra). More like planning my escape to the purgatory I am currently in. The more I stay, the more I feel like someone trapped in a sinking quick sand.

Eventually, it became tiring to even think ill of my situation (and current location). The more I think about how shitty my current situation is, the more I feel lonely and depressed. So, I just gave up and learned to lift it all up to God. I refuse to even dwell on the negative cos there’s nothing like feeling effed up to magnify an already hopeless situation.

Yes, I also got disillusioned with the characters I currently work with. Maybe it’s knowing that things aren’t what they see to be. And more importantly, you really can’t trust anyone. There’s nothing like disappointment to open your eyes to the realities of life, work and even love. Though it pains me sometimes, it’s quite disappointing how the antics and the quirks you used to find endearing suddenly feels so old, tiring and even remotely amusing.

...some times

Where do I begin with the disappointments? I’ve written before on how I saw a second lease of life/enthusiasm when Mr. G came on board. The enthusiasm lasted for a total of two weeks tops before finally disappearing in a hazy AND embarrassing screen of smoke. Oh, can you say major fail.

I kinda got flak (and still getting flak) for taking the side of the boss one time to many, especially during instances when he kinda looks pitiful (since no one wanted to be on his side most of the time). I got flak for “babying him one too many times” (as they put it). He was a grown adult, way past midlife who as they’ve said, is way in control of his faculties. But. I. Can’t. Effing. Help. It. THEN.

Now, I can’t wait for the first week of December, where the requisite bonus gets handed out to the pandering masses. Oh, the fact that I am saving the money to have the pathetic room updated. Plus other money worries that is simply too iffy to discuss and give detail to. Bonus gets handed out and then I finally make a move to plan on my future. Cos what I do know and who I work with right now doesn’t exactly play out in the future I am trying to seek. Maybe we can call this one similar to a train station. We wait and converge here, but we all know that we have a destination to look forward to.

And oh—I hate working on a holiday. Never mind if the management promised double pay. It could be a whole set of effing stars plus the moon thrown in and I still wouldn’t mind choosing the tempting vision of “lounging in my room only in my underwear”. As it is a more delectable choice, given the current situation. During instances such as these, how low can you go?

Tired and beaten

Somehow, while typing this post–I managed to fall asleep sitting down, Momo on my lap while Urbandub’s “A New Tattoo” played in the background. I won’t be surprised if my mouth was hanging open and that I might even be snoring. True fact: I snore when I am dead tired. In fact earlier, at the waiting area of the emergency section of the city hospital–I managed to fall asleep and snore. SNORE! right there in front of the injured, weak, delirious patients and their respective plus ones. Yes, your KamikazeeGirl managed to embarrass herself again. without even trying.

Good thing, The Queen (aka The Patient) was there to sock me on my side before I further embarrass myself. So, I looked up (heaved a sight of relief that there is no drool present–FYI, I do not drool when I sleep. even when I am tired.) Then act nonchalant about it. So freaking what? I was effing tired ok???

I’ve been dead tired and emotional these past few days. I think it’s due to some issues that kept cropping up and some new confusions that I managed to get myself into. Yes, drama and various versions of shite never fail to find me. Let me assure you that I have been born with a predilection for drama.

Anyway, work these days is less of hell and more of…the Dreaming??? (Oh, so I am going “Endless” now?) Actually, while the situations at work haven’t changed a bit (people are still A.N.N.O.Y.I.N.G) something–or someone–happened which decreased the level of stress and general irritability.

Obviously, that someone happens to be Mr. G, the new Creative Manager…In his shoulders lie the expectations and challenges of 3 senior managers and one UNDERSTANDING and WELL-RESPECTED CEO. As mentioned in my previous post, Mr. G is a cool guy, he is both funny and serious at the same time.

Seriously, he inspired the team to be more accepting of our fates…no, seriously (this time na talaga) — he inspired the team to be more dedicated in what we do and on his first ever keynote address (or email) he underlined the importance of “ownership” on our respective pet projects. I guess, that’s the benefit of having a good boss (cos my previous one–yeah MISERABLE HAG, I meant YOU!!!) who inspires and drives people. As opposed to someone who freaking slave and drives their staff to insanity.

And since, I have been reanimated from my deep stupor, work these days are very tiring. And hectic. I’ve been waking up early mornings then going home late at night.

I should really get a life one of these days…

Something cool happened today

…and I wish I’d finally stop smiling about it.

Tell me, what can be more cooler than seeing the head moron be reduced to a pile of blubbering piece of turd? Was it the moment when he ran out of things to say or the part when he wasn’t expecting a coherent, intelligent retort to his concerns. I guess from now on, shall I start giving you marketing lessons so you could answer back next time? And when he knew arguing further would also expose him for the flake that he is, he started dropping names like it was hot (cue Snoop Dogg: “drop it like it’s hot…drop it like it’s hot…”

Hmmmmnnnnn…speaking of hot…(never mind)

Oh, if only I have a camcorder at hand–I shall capture the exchange as vividly as possible so that he may realize how effing pathetic he was. Especially when arguing with someone who (obviously) knows his way with the industry. Damn, alone in my room–thinking about the scene earlier–I was still smiling.

Must stop these muscles from turning up. I gotta be normal at one point. Must not think about h…errrr…IT…and instead just revel on the coolness that is at hand.

Little disappointments and big surprises

I have an annoying habit which I have yet to get rid off.
I easily get heartbroken over silly, little things and sometimes, this is due to setting my expectations too high.

When I was still dating the Hubby, I asked him not to make promises lightly or set dates just like that: the reason, I easily get hurt when the things I expect do not happen. Boy, we’ve have thousands of fights fighting over matters as trivial as a canceled coffee dates. Then I’d be all gutted and wrenched inside, thinking why things shouldn’t be the way they are. I think my heartbreaks stem from my propensity to hope and expect. I am a freak that way.

Maybe beneath this “bully” (as my beloved girls at the office call me) is a sensitive bitch who gets disappointed easily. Shit, I can’t even believe that “sensitive” can be applicable to a hard-hearted wise ass like me. You see, at the office I am always the one with the witty comebacks, the sarcastic retorts even to the boss and I am the one most likely to maim someone just being my clumsy self. To put it bluntly, I am not exactly the sensitive type. To put it bluntly, I am the type who looked tough.

But know what? I am a fucking crybaby inside. I easily get hurt and I cry easily. Mind you, I am not easily offended-but I am easily hurt. Figure out the difference. The other day I saw old pics with my friends (from the former company) and I fucking cried. As in bawled my eyes out in the presence of my current office mates. I am the kind of person who cries over sad love songs and pictures of pets dying or being maimed. I am the freak who cries during sad scenes and who tries to blame it on the bad lighting or the curry or whatever. I even cried during my own wedding–freaking bawled my eyes out while walking down the aisle, amidst the glare of lights and cheering friends and families.

And I easily get hurt and disappointed. If you’re the type who hates my guts and you want to hurt me–you can do two things: promise me something, then don’t deliver OR you can betray my trust. Words–most of the times–do not have an effect on me, probably due to my thick skin, but betrayal, disappointment and goodbyes will definitely wound me.

During times when I feel sad or hurt, I seethe inside and can’t wait to go home to unwind. Unwind–which means curl up with a good book, stare in space and just freaking ride it out until the pain disappears. I am quite melodramatic–shit, I am not a Drama Queen for nothing!

And when I am hurt, I easily don’t hear our excuses. Yes, I might understand them or even say its okay but deep inside, I am suffering and seething on little things that won’t matter probably the next day.

Today is that kind of day. Something that’s supposed to happen didn’t happen and I got pissed with the fact that I am (secretly) looking forward to this day. Secretly–cos I don’t want to look to eager or excited or whatever. And when excuses started piling up, I was gutted. Simply gutted beyond belief, with no recourse to accept things as they are. Anyway, I am a bit better now (as I am already blogging about it) — and the hurt and disappointment have passed already.

And oh, before I forgot the simple blessings coming my way…the big boss (the one who usually gets the end of the shtick when I unleash the bitch within) has given me a copy JJ Magazine, October issue — straight from Japan!

Whoa. You do know that I am addicted to Japanese fashion mags–and what I had was simply awesome! as you all know, I get all my fashion ideas from these Japanese fashion magazines. My favorites are JJ, CanCam, Nonno, Scawaii and Nylon Japan.

hontoni arigatou gozaimasu, sir!

Work, Inc: Oh, it’s just like highschool…

…or a tamer version of the local entertainment industry…

I know more often than not, I rant about all the shit that I have to go through each day at my place of work. While back-reading my blog, I realized that I tend to always flip off the place where I earn my keep. Yeah sure, it’s really a crazy office and most of the times–it has a way of zapping the life force out of you.

But sitting here on my bed and just thinking things through–I remembered being sick and miserable a year and a half ago. I was with my previous job, reporting to a maniacally oppressive boss and I was broke and sick. All I wanted then was to escape the miserable hell hole that I am and start a new.

Then, I found this job.

Yeah, it’s not exactly the best and it leaves much to be desired. But this very moment, sitting here on my bed and alone with my thoughts–I come to ask myself. Am I giving it the chance that it deserves?

Anyway, as mentioned–my current work is just like a grown up version of high school. Well, aside from the fact that the rules were freaking hilarious:
1. IDs must be worn at all frigging times – this makes sense as this touches the issue of security for the employees
2. No eating on the work station to prevent roaches from breeding
3. No headphones allowed
4. No personal mobile phones allowed (to avoid distraction from job)
5. Corporate attire should be worn at all times…
6. Laughing like it’s the end of the world is also frowned upon (or shusssshed upon,
depending which way you look at it)…

Yeah, at first it did sound stupid AND crazy, but right now–here at the (dis) comforts of my own home and without the noise that always envelopes me, I’ve come to think that there is no company that doesn’t have it’s share of shitty rules. And in my ten years of working, I pretty much have seen everything…

My current work place is the type which give writers (like me–hahah! right!) enough inspiration to come up with a novel that borders on sarcastic-funny-caustic and heartbreaking if needed. It’s the type of office you will see on british comedy series — you know, enough material to keep your sarcastic humor going on full swing. It’s a hot bed of characters that you won’t forget in this lifetime. The people are the type who brings in a good and bad impression, and somehow — like an awful train wreck or head-on collision, YOU CAN’T SEEM TO LOOK AWAY.

Case in point 1: The man who left the Queen’s language in tatters
I cannot–for the life of me–imagine myself speaking awful English. It just doesn’t add up for me. Maybe because I grew up reading books, studying english in communications class and ended up earning my keep using this medium. But imagine being a top honcho and mangle the language you use in business every effing day. And not having a freaking clue. “As is” becomes “as ip”, “to Google is to gaggles” and many other atrocities that would put the Queen’s language to shame. Yes, I know we Filipinos have a way of looking down on those who don’t speak English and that we are very pronunciation-conscious. It’s a trait that is both awful and good in every Pinoy. But if you were someone who meets people on a daily basis, don’t you think it’s kinda better if you practice?

Case in point2: :Kiss ass or I shall smite thee”
There are people who delight in enunciating the difference in their respective position–from boss to underling, to the powers that be to the bottom wringer. I hate people who power trip and find delight in making people feel their “perceived insignificance”

As the great Sirius Black has said:
“If you want to know what a man’s like, take a good look at how he treats his inferiors, not his equals…”

This person needed a good dose of the series. She might find the words, according to Harry Potter, worth living by.

Case in point 3: “I look freaking good, shall I be adored…? yes?”

My current work place is the bastion and the last stronghold of the colorful and hilariously adorable third sex. On our halls roam the original beauty queens whose perky breasts and cute busts can move any female (with serious body issues) to shame. Here’s a place where the queens look more beautiful and refined than the females–who I have come to believe to possess godd-awful pipes which we exploit as much as possible.

For the longest time, the apple of the eye was the cute IT expert who–on a day to day basi–must fend off threats of lust from the proud Queens. The kid has reigned in freely as the office candy for almost a year, now the source of eye candy and lust requirement for the aging girls and the emboldened queendom. That is before Mr. G–who is my boss by all means.

Last I heard from the office grape vine: Mr. G currently ranks high on the office hearthrob tally. The mere fact that he is just two weeks into the service is irrelevant to the high “wantability” factor associated to him. Former loudmouths now speak with annoying lilt and soft voices whenever he is present; gays who pass by the hall take a u-turn for a quick look and face time while old women preen and posturize, acting like high schoolers in his presence. To all of these, Mr. G maintains a collected and cool exterior which is betrayed sometimes by the way his cheeks would turn red–especially after one of the Queens decided to go for it, and aim for a quick kiss. (Mr. G was fast and the gay had to content with the age old “beso-beso” A quick check on Mr. G that while he was left in a state of shock, he was able to live through the ordeal.

These are just some of the weird, wacky and wonderful things happening where I work. I am tempted to reveal more but the again, what would I write about on the next installment?

My name is…

So, here I was trying to be a good girl and work (in spite the fact that Mr. G is on sick leave, and thus we do not have a “bantay”, hence today is inde-f@cking-pendence day in the department) when I received this email from our branch in Cebu:

Hi Mel,
Please see pix of xxxxxx employees in cebu.

Mel??? Mel???? MEL??? Seriously, who the eff is MEL?!?
Last I checked, my name’s Melanie. For purposes of making it shorter and thus sound a bit cooler, you may call me “Lani”, or “lans/lance” which is the name I’m using for my current company–but MEL?

mah name is....!

My apologies over this melodramatic post courtesy of being addressed the wrong name. But don’t you just hate it when people get your name wrong? I mean, your name is an extension given to you by your parents. It’s your identifier. And while it doesn’t define who you are and your identity — it answers the basic question of em all: What is your name? Anong pangalan mo? Irumum muoshimnikka?

Namae wa nan desu ka? Anata no onamae wa?

In spite it nuances and apparent plain-ness, I love my name. When I was younger, I looked up its meaning and found out it means “black” –since then, I have come to love it more. In my mind, here’s a name destined for a girl who revel in everything dark and black.

My name has weird beginnings. Apparently, when she was still pregnant with me, my mom found a small baby doll in the bus seat next to where she was sitting. She was on her way to her monthly Baclaran devotion. So, she picked up the doll and looked at it–on the doll’s tummy was my name, “Melanie” written in black ink. So when she gave birth and they were processing my birth certificate and I still don’t have my name, my mom remembered the old doll. So, if you will see my birth certificate, you’ll notice that every bit of information was typewritten, except for my first name, “Melanie” which was crudely written in shaky all caps handwriting.

When I was growing up and trying to be cool, I spelled my nickname as “Lhanie” — notice the Filipino’s penchant for putting the letter “h” in a misguided and uninformed attempt to make a certain name sound cute? That’s the reason why Pinoys have “Jhun”, “Ahnie”, “Jhon-Jhon”, “Lhisa” and “Bhoy”. I even saw this weird spelling on a belly of the Lambingin Bridge in Mandaluyong while aboard a Starcraft Ferry: “Aphril loves Nhestor”. After graduating from high school and deciding that “Lhanie” is “jologs”, I shortened it to “Lani” and the name stuck ever since. Well, that is before I was hired to where I was working now.

Apparently, the name “Melanie” and “Lani” takes the cake in this organization–and upon my entry into the org, there was already a “Melai”, “Annie” and “Lani”. In this situation, the name “lans/lance” was born. So, I became Lans and until now, has been subjected to embarrassing phone calls that usually goes like this:

Caller: Good afternoon, may I please speak to Sir Lance?
Me: There is no Lance here, what department are you calling?
Caller: Wala pong Lance (Surname)…?
Me: Oh, that would be me…(after realizing that I go by the name Lans here)
Caller: Ay babae po pala kayo…sorry po…

I really don’t care about the spelling–write it as Lans or Lance, I don’t care–as long as it’s not “Lhanzzz” cos then, it would really be freaky and cheap. So, it would never be “Mel” ever. I am tempted to respond to the writer as to who he was pertaining to: Mel Gibson, Mel Tiangco, Mel & Jay??? I don’t know, Mel seems a bit — too grown up? to old of a name for someone like me who refused to grow up. A look in the mirror confirms that I will never be “Mel” but I will always be “Lani”.

As simple as that: 4 letters and 2 syllables.