Exploring the universe: Taiwan, part 3

My stationery dreams came true in Taiwan. I probably got too carried away but no regrets, for sure. My friend Ella mentioned that what she loved about Taiwan is how they had so much awesome stationery merchandise by local artists from stickers to washi tapes and I’m glad that locally that’s starting to happen in my country too. There are now a lot of locally-designed washi and numerous stickers from various Filipino artists in stores like Common Room and Craft Central and that makes me happy. Ella mentioned a shop called Ma Ma Umbrella shop near Songshan cultual park and we spent a good 2 and a half hours there, just browsing and shopping hehe.

I had a hard time choosing which to buy because they were all so lovely and well-made.

We also went to several Eslite branches and I wasn’t able to take photos because I was in a hurry to shop haha. We still had a lot of items in our itinerary and the day was almost ending eep.

Finally got to try the OG milk tea from Chun Shui Tang. The inventor of bubble tea in Taiwan, they said. This was inside Eslite in Songshan Cultural Park. 30% sugar and the chewinees of the pearls were perfect. My fave from this trip.

The foodtrucks outside Eslite were cute:

We also tried this jasmine and lime concoction from Ice Monster. I can’t imagine being able to finish this by myself, look at how massive it is:

We went to the Red House at Ximending:

The lines were so long in this stall selling popcorn chicken called Ji Guang Xiang Xiang Ji. Or 1973 chicken?

The best popcorn chicken I’ve tasted, and best calamari too! Or something like calamari? Our order came with fried squid which was fried in the same batter as the chicken. Really yummy. While my gf stayed in line here, I got a bit lost because I was looking for milk tea for our drink. I wanted to try fiftea here even if we had a fiftea branch outside our office in Makati haha. I saw some people drinking it and asked several where to buy it. Of course with the mazelike structure of the area I couldn’t find it immediately but after much perseverance and more stopping people with fiftea drinks asking where they got it I saw the place!

I got lost somewhere here because the streets sorta looked the same to a tourist haha:

The fiftea drink I got was just okay. Zero sugar and the pearls weren’t sweetened so it very much tasted like… water lol. Wrong decision to not have a bit of sugar.

We played taiko drums and high tech Pong!

I was so happy when I saw a Sanseriya branch here! I remembered trying Sanseriya in Ueno Japan and loving it so I was excited to eat those garlicky escargots again. Really bad photo but really scrumptious snails:

Ending this with some fave memories from the trip:

Stumbling upon this sight of Taipei 101 outside at night:

Gorgeous travel brochures:

Sent myself mail! Hope it reaches me!

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Exploring the universe: Taiwan, part 2

For this trip, we had two priorities: Stationery and food haha. We didn’t go to touristy spots but plotted our itinerary based on recos from friends. To save money, I didn’t want to rent a pocket wifi so I just grabbed screenshots of places in google maps with the Chinese names of places and pointed to it when asking for directions. Super effective!

We arrived in Maokong and ate some street food from these stalls:

I’ve read that it’s common to drink tea when you ride the cable car to Maokong but it was sunny and we just drank lots of milk tea that cost around Php 30 from 711 so we skipped that. We did some exploring of the place though:

There were some food stalls in the area and we tried some of them. My food bucket list for Taiwan included stinky tofu, peanut cilantro ice cream, the OG milk tea, lots of milk tea, chicken popcorn, grilled squid and mushrooms, that big chicken cut into pieces and Din Tai Fung lol. We were able to try all of those. Yay!

My god the stinky tofu was extraordinarily stinky. They said your senses are heightened when you’re PMS-ing and maybe that was also a factor? If you had to ask, it tasted like a horse died in my mouth but that’s just me. I have friends who love it and hate things I love eating so to each their own haha. I didn’t think it would be that bad because I love fermented food and tofu but it just wasn’t a good match for me. Sorry. I tried once and gagged. I tried twice and decided I didn’t want to torture myself so I stopped haha.

I got excited when I saw the stand with the peanut brittle block. I’ve been watching a lot of videos and reading about Taiwanese street food and from the description of the peanut ice cream, I knew I had to try it.

They added 2 multiflavored ice cream scoops and cilantro to this and rolled the lumpia. The ice cream didn’t really taste like the flavors I expected and was icy rather than creamy but having the cilantro there was a nice contrast to the crunchiness of the peanuts and softness of the ice cream. It was okay. I imagined trying this out with a homemade version here. Like what if I used our mango ice cream and some grated cheese as well plus fresh mango chunks with the baguio peanut brittle that I crushed and cilantro? I think I want to try making my own version of this for merienda.

This was the small pear coated in sugar syrup. I think for this it’s best to have the softer fruits inside like the strawberry because the sugar coating was already hard and the pear was also hard so the combination was a bit of a challenge to eat when you don’t have strong teeth like me haha:

The winner here for us was the chopped fried chicken, which tasted like the chicken chops from Serenitea haha.

We did get to eat this yummy pizza and Jack daniels wings from this little foodtruck called Little New York in Songshan Cultural Park. We shared one order and we were both really fans of how it tasted:

At the Night market, we tried aiyu jelly, grilled squid, grilled mushroom, beef wrapped veggies and takoyaki.

The grilled mushrooms and squid tasted just okay. They were a bit tough. Nice concept though! I think the mushrooms would have tasted better if they were cut and dipped in the basting sauce before grilling. This would mean that the sauce would enter the inside and have it more flavorful since mushrooms without seasoning are generally bland. We had to spit out some of the skin because we really couldn’t chew it no matter how hard we tried. Maybe that’s why these mushroom types are better when stirfried or in soups. Now I get it.

The winner this night was the honey mustard takoyaki. We asked the vendor his preferred dressing because we originally picked soy. He said honey mustard and it was perfect for the takoyaki which needed lots of sauce to complement the dry batter and the creamy sauce was perfect for it. Really good!

The title of frog eggs for boba was really intriguing so I ordered a drink but with some miscommunication was handed a drink with aiyu jelly. The jelly was nice and tart but this drink was just way too sweet for me sadly. Perhaps when you order you can have the sugar syrup lessened?

There were so many milk tea stalls in the night market that sold milk tea for as low as around NTD20. We tried one randomly and it was okay. We still prefer the one we drank from 711, same price hehe.

There was a long line here and we needed a small table where we can eat our food so I also tried this milk tea place and realized I just ordered a brown sugar milk drink without tea. The chewiness of the boba was perfect and it was a good pairing with the creamy milk but once again it was too sweet for us. Lol. But what did I expect from a brown sugar drink right haha.

Up next: Stationery and my fave milk tea from the trip!

Exploring the Universe: Taiwan, part 1

For my birthday this year, I celebrated with my love in Taiwan, where I was able to tick off a lot of boxes in my bucket list. 🙂 It’s been my dream to visit Taiwan because I heard a lot of great things about it, especially if you’re a stationery lover and a food lover lol (both me).

We were greeted by the sight of this:

Milktea and juices omg.

But my heart leapt at this sight:

My fave pon de ring donuts! Freshly made so they were perfect huhu

I also enjoyed drinking from that paper cup. So nifty!

Our first day had this magnificent blue sky, which was a delightful surprise because from our research and from the people we’ve talked to in Taiwan, the few days before this had gloomy rainy skies. This was a great way to start our vacation, thanks, Universe!

We were planning on riding the Maokong gondola and the weather was perfect for it. Saw this on our way to the station:

Tips: Ride the regular cable car instead of the glass bottom going up so that you don’t have to wait in line for an hour or so. When you go back, the lines are shorter since people already experienced the glass bottom one.

We also went to the Taipei zoo:

My fave parts of the zoo were the gift shops lol and that area where you can stuff all the crystals you want in a bottle:

Up next: Street food!

So long 2018. Hello 2019!

My 2018 was the year for “light”. In a lot of beautiful ways, my guiding word manifested in my life. Not every day though, but it served as a constant reminder. I often felt lightness in my heart, mostly due to the love I realized I have in this life from the people around me. I ate healthier and took care of myself as much as I can and I reverted back to my ideal weight and am in optimum health based on all those health tests I constantly took. My biggest lesson was taking things more lightly and avoiding overthinking, which was sometimes what I did, but I am still learning, so I also consider that a win.

My heart feels buoyant most days. I think that’s really a big achievement for me and I feel happy that despite everything, I am still here, still seeing the world with bits of hope and optimism.

For 2019, I want to be pleasantly surprised by the Universe. I would be naming it my year for Delightful magic and Abundance. I am claiming it. Next year would be even more magical and epic and I would be having all these opportunities leading me closer to my dream life and dream self.

This year, I am grateful for my love and my family and friends. I got to experience highs and lows which I never thought I’d experience and they all serve to make me grow into being a better human:

💖 Baler with my love

💖 Big Bad Wolf booksale kakaloka

💖 Vday surprise extravaganza

💖 Laiya Coco Grove with fam

💖 Trampoline park and greenfield market

💖 Dia del libro

💖 Lots of gouache and acrylic painting

💖 Lion King musical (!!!)

💖 Great health

💖 Skillshare, Sketchbook Skool scholarships

💖 Dumaguete! Beach trip

💖 Free creativebug

💖 Tagaytay crosswind with fam

💖 Impromptu Theta healing

💖 Lots of beautiful new books and magazines

💖 #oilwayswell

💖 Mama lou’s and va bene

💖 Minimalist journal

💖 Food wars and project runway plus The Good place and Saiki K and Brooklyn 99. Chef’s Table

💖 Bowling and billiards with my love

💖 Museum anniv date!

💖 Being surprised always

💖 Massages

💖 Homecooked yummy meals

💖 Calatagan Batangas

I also recently got to try a hot cauldron hot tub and a glamping sample:

I also got to visit the beach at the end of the year, which is a wonderful way to end this year. Thank you 2018 and I can’t wait to unwrap your gifts, 2019!

What I’ve been up to: September to October 2018

Whoaaaa hello Ber months! I am very pleased with how this year unfolded in terms of my art and my heart.

I got an annual scholarship from Skillshare and a scholarship from Sketchbook Skool plus an opportunity to take classes from creativebug for free and these are all my dream online classes! I still can’t believe my luck.

My faves from Skillshare would have to be the class of my idol Leah Reena Goren where she taught me how to use gouache. Here’s my final output:

I also enjoyed learning about how to paint crystals and gems with Yasmina creates:

In creativebug, I learned how to paint with Missy Dunaway. I didn’t have the liquid acrylic paint or the sketchbook for this but I tried my best with gouache:

I am a Yao Cheng fan so I took her classes and painted so many flowers. Below that is my 2nd day attempt for Inktober but then I gave up because life is too short for me to worry about finishing an art challenge when my body needa to rest instead lol:

I also made Instagram highlight covers! Check out my instagram (http://www.instagram.com/mabuhaydiy) to see them. Am rather proud of those hehe. Used Canva to help me make that.

In stuff I’ve been enjoying, I am obsessed with The Good Place, Brooklyn 99, Bojack, Disenchantment, and listening to my fave songs from my college days. Last night I finally squeezed some of my Holbein watercolors into a makeshift palette because I realized I missed my watercolors. I’ve been neglecting them since I started exploring with gouache but hopefully we get to hang out again soon.

Have I told you that I’m in a dangerous but delicious phase in my life right now? I’m in my cake phase and my journals are witnesses to this slow descent into madness. My journals have been evolving into cake diaries huhu haha.

Speaking of my journals, I started a Draw your day illustrated journal because I was so inspired by the book of Samantha Dion. I’ve been posting pages in my instagram stories, if you want a peek. 🙂

I am glad I am able to take more sunset and sunrise photos lately. Here are some of my faves:

Above is an image that best describes how I feel in this season of my life. Grateful for the beauty and the flowers, savoring life the best way I know how.

Hope you’re having a great year.

Exploring the Universe: Dumaguete 2018

Visiting Silliman university has been in my bucket list for ages so I’m really happy I got to tick that off this year! My gf and I visited her school and I finally got to meet her family. 🙂

Highlights of the trip: Sans Rival bistro, (where I stuffed my face with sylvanas), Cafe Mamia (homey and really good danggit), CT burger (where I had not one, not two, but 3 servings of chicken lol–it was by far the best chicken I’ve tasted in this lifetime haha). I also wasn’t able to eat tempura ni bossing but got to try some squid rolls (some were free!). I also slept for 12 hours straight which is a first for me! Plus that Pura Vida beach adventure, where I got to ride a hybrid of a bus and a jeep. I also got to check out a Booksale branch and see kitties! I got a lot of journaling done, and felt so relaxed thanks to my gf’s patience and hospitality heh.

Some photos!

What I’ve been up to: July to August 2018

It’s the half of 2018 already, and I’ve been reminding myself of my word for 2018, which is “light”. I’ve read about the seasons of our life and how we should honor that and accept it. Maybe I’m in my post-winter season, because I do feel like I’ve been doing a lot of internal growing and stretching lately, in preparation for full blooms facing the sun in spring. I know that the “invincible summer” awaits me soon, but in the meantime, I am willing to be open to the lessons that this tail-end of winter has to impart.

I got a scholarship from a fave online class site called Sketchbook Skool! I’m so grateful and am learning a lot from their various teachers. I’m also a mentor now in the group’s FB page so that’s pretty exciting, since I’ve always wondered what it would be like to have a mentor/mentee. 🙂

Art-wise, I’ve been doing some explorations and experiments! I was lucky enough to be sent some NeoSketch Markers from @getfiled and I tried them lately by doing portraits and landscapes. I love that they’re an affordable alternative and that they are odorless and watersoluble:

I got to visit Ayala Museum again this year for the “Inspire Every Day” event with my friend Nix. I loved this exhibit using bamboo:

Gouache and I are closer now, I think? I have been doing paintings using gouache and studying lines and tone.

I have a minimalist journal! I gave up on trying to fit a maleta of art materials in my bag for work because the commute is a killer so I pared down my needs to 2 essentials: my plain notebook from Muji and a black pen from Muji as well.

I also tried the #drawthisinyourstylechallenge in instagram, and it was quite exciting, trying to mimic someone else’s work but injecting my art style into it–which I’m just trying to figure out myself as well haha. Reference images from @uxia15 and @janicesung.

Hope 2018 has been kind to you as well. 🙂

What I’ve been up to: April to June 2018

Trying to be healthier by eating more greens, less processed food, and walking more after lunch.

So far I’ve lost 10 pounds in a week! Not really depriving myself of the occasional milk tea and cake so this is good news for me, but I’ll have my executive checkup in a few months so wish me luck–I really hope the results are favorable.

I love watching female feminist comedians on Netflix. My faves would have to be Ali Wong, Lynne Koplitz, Cristela Alonzo and Tig Notaro, but my ultimate favorite is Hanna Gadsby. I was listening to her instead of watching her because I was inside a jeep and I didn’t want to have my phone snatched and after a few minutes of laughing I started crying because of her honest revelations. I won’t spoil you but please do check her out via Netflix.

The image above was my homework output for Rebecca Green’s challenge in Sketchbook Skool. I finally ticked off an item in my bucket list and that’s enroll in a paid online class taught by a fave artist. Having fun so far!

Been making diary comics too. Am such a big fan of artists who make diary comics and I wanted a body of work that would make me feel happy and grateful for past me when I look at it in the future.

I also tried the #drawmystyle challenge! I didn’t know drawing myself as a Simpsons character would be so challenging haha.

I’m also trying out gouache again! Just getting the feel of it. Feels quite exciting, as I learn new things about it every day. I use Simbalion because am still deciding on whether we’re friends or not. We’ll see.

It has been a pretty productive past couple of months! I think I owe it to my Draw Every Day, Draw Every Way sketchbook/activity book by @augustwren.

I hope you’re also having some nice “me” time. 🙂

What I’ve been up to: March 2018

March was filled with qt with my family and with people close to my heart.

We went to Gandang Ganda Sa Sariling Gawa, a womancentric zine and art fair, and it made me so happy that there are lots of like-minded women in this corner of the world who are sharing their art. Here’s my loot:

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I also had more time to experiment with different art forms.

Like making collages:

I sometimes catch the sunset when I ride the bus home. I try to take some photos whenever I can:

Loving my old uni posca markers and enjoying experimenting with them: