Dear Archer,

Bringing Archer home for the first time!
(Also my first photo of Archer.)

Seven years ago, my dad picked me up from school one day, and casually mentioned that he saw an ad for Shih Tzu puppies over at one of the nearby bakeshops he frequented. Before this point, I’ve begged for a dog for so long, but was always shot down because my brother has asthma and other people at home has a sensitivity to animal fur. I was curious why he mentioned it, and prompted him for more information. I knew this was my big chance, so I begged if we could get a Shih Tzu puppy.

I did a lot of research. I told my family that a Shih Tzu is hypoallergenic, kind, good with kids, and extremely lovable. I also promised that I would handle all the care for this puppy, and would be totally responsible for it. My little sister was about to turn 3-years-old, and I stressed that growing up with a dog would be a good experience for her. (The secret weapon was using my little sister as a reason, haha!)

Miraculously, I convinced them, got approval, and we called the owner to reserve a puppy.


I first met Archer on the second of March in 2014—months before I would start attending university. At that time, I was 16 years old. It was a hot, sunny afternoon, and we stepped inside the bakeshop. There were two Shih Tzu puppies—one was brown and white all over, and the other one was white with brown ears (Archer’s sister, Amber!) The owner, who graduated from my high school and the college that I would then attend, told us that the brown one was named “Archer” because De La Salle University (whose mascots are a green archers) won the UAAP Championships that year.

I didn’t bother changing his name. I thought it was perfect and that it fit his personality! With happy hearts, we brought Archer home—not knowing how much of an impact this small, quiet dog would make on all of our lives.

First time taking a photo with Archer!
(We both look so young and messy, haha.)

We hit it off immediately! Best buds right away. He slept in my room, I would bathe him, we’d play every day, and he’d follow me around. There were good days and there were bad days. The first time he got sick, I was so worried. I felt like a bad human for Archer.

Throughout the years, we’ve shared memories together: mundane days when we’d just lounge around; exciting days, when we’d go out to a little road trip; scary days, when he got dog-napped and when he mysteriously got trapped on the roof; sad days, when it rained too hard or when the fireworks were too loud; and happy days, which was almost every day that I got to spend time with him.

He became my anchor and my rock. I learned how to be more responsible. I learned to be kinder and to take breaks because of him. I learned to make sacrifices and actually care for something other than what was expected from me. I learned how to take care of myself better because I knew that he depended on me.

I learned how to be a better person because of Archer. He brought me so much joy and comforted me on my dark days. He’s the only one who can calm my anger, make me laugh, and cheer me up in record time.

He was the best dog I could’ve ever asked for.

Continue reading “Dear Archer,”

2021 Hobonichi Haul (ほぼ日)

It’s that time of the year again where I share my Hobonichi haul + share my planner/journal set-up for next year! ☺️ It’s one of the few things I really look forward to every year.

*If you want to see my previous hauls, you can click here for 2020 and here for 2019! (Also, can I just say—I’m so happy to see my content improve over the years, hehe.)

I ordered my Hobonichi haul on September 1, 2020 (first day of the sale!) and got my package (via FedEx) on September 8, 2020—which is exactly a week later! Not bad. (If you ignore the extra fees, haha.)

This year’s box came in a lovely yellow color and a commemorative 20th anniversary graphic on top of the box. Happy 20th Anniversary, Hobonichi!

This year, I admit, I was a little underwhelmed with the cover choices. Last year, I had such a difficult time choosing what cover to get because I loved so many designs. This year, I had trouble choosing because there wasn’t a particular cover that I gravitated towards.

Rather than force myself to buy a cover from the 2021 line-up just for the sake of getting a cover from the latest release, I searched locally for covers and saw that Scribe was selling one of my dream covers for 40% off! After much thought (and a little encouragement from Abbey, haha!) I bought it!

This year’s quote.

Here’s what I got:

A peek inside 👀
Continue reading “2021 Hobonichi Haul (ほぼ日)”

A Life Update / Quarantine Kitchen

Hey everyone! 👋🏻

It’s now mid-September, but to me, it feels as if time really slowed down, and I’m still stuck in April or May. Ever since we’ve been quarantined, it’s like the days are slowly blurring together and I’ve completely lost track of the concept of time itself.

I am lucky enough to have a work-from-home situation, but I’ll be honest, it’s been a little difficult juggling different kinds of work. For context, I work in my room. My room doesn’t have windows, so I completely rely on a clock and unnatural light for the passing of time. (That, and the times when I would have my meals, lol.) I’ve read how seeing actual sunlight and watching the day pass by provides a subliminal message to your body and your brain, telling you “hey, it’s time to wake up and work” or “stop working, it’s time to sleep.” Alas, I ended up ruining my already messed up body clock. There are days where I work until 4AM and wake up at 8:30AM a few hours later just to attempt to reset my body clock back to “normal.”

Honestly, I’ve been pretty calm at home. I’m an introverted person, so I thrive on alone time. I’ve been keeping myself busy by getting back into my hobby of baking, as well as learning new things like embroidery. The outside world is scary (and I’m not just talking about COVID), so the best we can do right now is to practice social distancing, and be responsible citizens.

It all started when I ordered a bunch of ingredients online.
(All of these cost me less than Php 1,200, wow!)
Continue reading “A Life Update / Quarantine Kitchen”

Driving Again

Note: All the activities written here were done before NCOV-19 + lockdown.

(Hey guys, it’s been a while again. Whoops. Initially, when the lockdown was implemented, I thought I would have a lot of free time to actually update here, but I was wrong—haha! I’ll write more about that in the coming blog posts, but now, I want to share with you a little story + personal achievement that I did before the lockdown!)

After five long years, I finally enrolled myself into driving school again. This time, I decided to learn how to drive an automatic car (I learned manual the first time.) It’s funny to me to see my progress here because my first blog post on this blog was about driving school, haha!

Initially, I was nervous to drive again. I had so many thoughts circling my head: What if I cause a lot of traffic? What if I damage the car or accidentally bump someone? What if I forgot everything I’ve learned five years ago and make a total fool out of myself now?

All these thoughts kept swarming my head as I attended my first actual driving session—I was scared it would be as difficult as the first time I drove. I admit the first few sessions were a little rough. I was so used to all the foot positions (due to muscle memory/habit) of a manual car so much, that re-learning everything was nerve-wracking.

DrivingAgain1Outside the LTO (Land Transportation Office) to get a driver’s license application!

I had good days and bad days. The good days were when there was barely any traffic and the weather was great. The bad days were times when cars were all around me, and I felt claustrophobic, thinking that I would get squished on the road. At times, it was really overwhelming and I felt like giving up.

It was when I finally stopped thinking too hard about driving and stopped doubting myself, I realized that driving can be relaxing. I realized that driving is all about being in the present. You can’t think about on-road decisions that happened already once you get through it, and you can’t keep getting apprehensive about every move you make—it’s about how you react to what’s going on and trying to make the best out of every situation there.

After completing my lessons, I studied up for the licensing exam and went to the LTO a month after to take the test. After around 6 hours of waiting, I walked out with a driver’s license. Sure, I had several (and literal) bumps along the way, but I am proud to say that I did it! Yey!

(Sorry I don’t have a lot of pictures—but I guess, that’s self-explanatory, haha! Couldn’t really be taking a lot of photos while I drive, lol.)

‘Till the next blog post,
Sophie

 

PaperCon 2019 Haul!

Two weeks ago, I worked at PaperCon under Abbey’s booth with two volunteers: Trina (who so happens to be a friend from college) and Nice (a new friend, yey!) It was ultimately a rewarding experience—we had so much fun manning a booth and talking to the customers! Before it got too busy, I was able to take a couple of photos of the event:

It still amazes me that people lined up around 2-3 hours before the event itself to get a hold of the VIP ticket (which was limited to 200 only!) Salute to you guys for bracing the hot weather and standing up for so long, haha.

Just look at that line!

Setting up (a.k.a. the calm before the storm.)

At 10:00AM on the dot, the doors officially opened, and a swarm of people entered. We were selling stationery and books left and right, and we didn’t realize how much time has passed until one of us called for a lunch break!

Team ABC! (L-R: Abbey, me, Trina, and Nice + special mention to Auntie Z for helping us out!)

We took turns taking breaks and going around when it wasn’t too busy. Actually, before PaperCon, I already had an idea of what I wanted to buy (from stalking the online shops of each seller, haha!)—and I’m proud to say that I stayed within my budget. Now, on to my haul!

Cute PaperCon ticket!

Continue reading “PaperCon 2019 Haul!”

MIBF 2019 Book Haul

Hello, it’s been a while!

Lately, I’ve been busy with work (a welcome thing compared to earlier this year when I was uninspired to work or do anything really)—but the next few months are full of adventure and events, which I’m excited to share with you! For now, I’ll share with you my MIBF (Manila International Book Fair) haul this year. I’ve posted my haul every year since 2015, and it’s nice to see how my tastes have evolved. I’ve been more and more conscious of book-buying every year. I ask myself questions like “Will I read this more than once?” “Will I want this to be on my shelf for several years?” “Will this book add to my being or not?” Armed with these questions, I went to the book fair with a list of book-investments I’d want to purchase.

First, I got the 75th-anniversary edition of Edith Hamilton’s Mythology. I first read this book in my first or second year in high school (nearly 7 years ago?!) and fell in love with the stories. I got myself a copy at a local second-hand bookstore and reread it once every so often when I get the urge to jump into the world of gods and Greek tragedy.

Look how beautiful the cover is!

Gorgeous illustration inside!

I can’t wait to re-read the stories one of these days!

My older, worn-out copy of the book!

Continue reading “MIBF 2019 Book Haul”

Instant Memories of 2019

I finally had my latest instant camera film developed and scanned. As compared to my previous roll, this one lasted me almost three months before I finally finished up all the film inside. I was able to bring it with me to Japan during my “hooray-we-finally-graduated” trip last March and my trip to Seoul last April. Shockingly, I didn’t even use it up during the two trips (mind you, this camera had just around 30 shots, too!) I was surprised with how sparingly I was using the instant camera. Maybe I’ll use it more generously next time.

Anyway, here are some of the best/cleanest shots from the roll!
(Note: None of these images were edited/color corrected aside from resizing it + adding my logo!)

Some shots from my Japan trip:

Alecca took this photo in our Osaka hostel—we were in the lobby/common room for hostel guests.

Alecca took this photo of me in USJ, behind the Flying Snoopy ride (which was closed for the day.)

Took this quick photo of Alecca (L) and Nicole (R) while we were waiting in line at USJ!

Continue reading “Instant Memories of 2019”

That’s a Wrap: Graduation (Part 2)

Here’s part two of my “That’s a Wrap” blog post; to read part one, which is about my thesis, click here! (Also, by the time you’ll read this, I’ve been “unemployed” for a little over a month, haha! Quotation marks on “unemployed” because I technically work for the family businesses + freelance for now…so…sorta unemployed?) If you’ve read part one and are here for part two, thank you for sticking around!

GRADUATION – October 13, 2018
Just like that, I’m done with school. I admit it’s been difficult for me to grasp that I don’t have to write papers, study for exams, or do projects anymore. I’ve always enjoyed learning and college brought out the nerd in me; I loved taking notes, buying stationery, organizing my thoughts into an essay, graded recitation, the readings. When I first entered university, I remember one of my professors telling me, “Life in college is like a fantasy or even a utopia.” Only now, when I don’t have classes to attend or schoolwork to do, did I understand what he meant.

In college, I felt like—for the first time in my life—I am my authentic self. I studied hard, made mistakes, pursued my interests, and made lifetime memories and friendships. I was so used to living in this bubble in high school; what we’re required to study and do regardless of our interests. I was such a frustrated artist in high school—I wanted to pursue writing and arts, but I didn’t get the opportunity to really get into either until I got to college. I was surprised by the amount of freedom I got and, for the first time in my life, I met people with the same goals and ambitions in my course. I felt like I belonged.

Finally finished all my required units!

I was able to achieve so much in the short four years I’ve had in De La Salle University. I was able to write stories and see it as a short film, study abroad, take part in internships, write a book, and so much more. I am incredibly grateful for my experiences.

Thank you for the four incredible years, DLSU!

Continue reading “That’s a Wrap: Graduation (Part 2)”

That’s a Wrap: Thesis (Part 1)

It’s been less than a month since graduation and I feel that it has finally sunk in that, after spending the majority of my life in school, I am finally finished (for now, at least.) Before I get into the nitty-gritty of this, I’d like to share a story or two about my last two semesters in university focusing mainly on my thesis and graduation. I’ll be splitting these into two separate blog posts, so brace yourself for a lengthy read!

THESIS
I know I’ve been hinting this post several times in the past when I was still working on my thesis, and I’m happy to finally share my thought process on the entire thing: the concept of the story, the writing, and, finally, the illustration process.

It was in my second year of university when I decided two things: one, that I would like to write and illustrate a children’s book for my thesis. And, two, I want to do my thesis alone (I guess I was too traumatized by group work and I know that I’m too much of a perfectionist, so I worried for partnerships when it comes big projects, like a thesis.) Seeing that I had around two years before I would reach the thesis term, I prepared hastily for this in order to have the skills for it. I went to talks and took writing classes to improve my storytelling, I practiced my brush lettering, studied more watercolor techniques, and read + reread a lot of children’s books. I wrote a lot of stories and articles to practice. (I also stocked up on art supplies!) Eventually, the thesis term arrived, and I was ready to face the long road ahead.

My thesis was divided into two terms: the research term and the thesis implementation term. The first term focused more on the story development and research, which went by rather quickly. (I enjoyed writing and researching—I’ve learned so much!) The second term is when I got to apply what I’ve learned…and have fun with it!

The story conceptualization for the book took a while until my mentor and I found a story that worked. Basically, my end goal is to write a book that I know my little sister would love reading. The story is simply about a little girl named Hannah (yes, I named my character after my sister) and her dad. So Hannah is sick in bed with a cold and wants nothing but Alphabet Soup to help her feel better. Her dad does his best to make it—despite not really knowing how to. He misinterprets Alphabet Soup as a soup with 26 ingredients from A-Z and adds in strange and fun things to make a funny soup. The story inspiration was directly derived from the fun and silly relationship dynamic between my sister and my father.

The writing process of my book was frustrating, to say the least. I took me three months (and ten drafts) until my mentor and I were satisfied with the text. I wrote the book in poetry to make it fun (and somewhat more difficult for me, haha.) It was also around this time I gave my book its title: Silly Soup Day.

After I fully grasped what I wanted to write, I jumped right into illustration and did a few pages of character and color studies:

I also roughly painted the cover design of my book:

Continue reading “That’s a Wrap: Thesis (Part 1)”

Hobonichi 2019 Haul!

While I prepare for the Hobonichi wrap-ups I’ve missed (click here to see the latest one), I’d like to share my Hobonichi haul for next year! It took me a while to decide on what cover I’ll use for the next year, but after weeks of indecision, I’m happy with what I chose. When I got the package, I ran to my room to open it up right away (then I placed everything back to take a photo of everything, haha!)

The box is so cute!

When you open the box, this is what welcomes you. I feel encouraged already!

What to open first?!

Continue reading “Hobonichi 2019 Haul!”