Write Until You Meet Yourself


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I was very young when I started writing in journals. My mother, being an introvert herself, bought me my first diary, and I took to it quite naturally. I was extremely uncommunicative with people, very rarely raising my voice to talk or make conversation, but I was expressive in my writings. On paper, my thoughts were easy to pour out.

Much of writing is unpacking ourselves from the tightly-wound package of public perception and social pressures. The deliberate act of putting words on paper requires a certain measure of introspection and openness.

Perhaps more importantly, when I write, I am brave. I open doors that I never opened before. I confront my ignorance and willingly accept self-correction. I ask myself those very difficult questions, and I am able to write down and face the answers, painstakingly thought out and laid down, letter by letter. I write honestly, without trying to cover anything up, without trying to make me look better. Without judgment.

In writing, I meet a version of myself. One that’s inaccessible outside the pages of my journals. Through the years, it has  been my safe space, helping me understand and love the person I meet through introspection and quiet meditation.

“Whether you’re keeping a journal or writing as a meditation, it’s the same thing. What’s important is you’re having a relationship with your mind.” – Natalie Goldberg

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A Leaf. Up Close.


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Here’s my watercolor practice for today. A leaf, up close. I haven’t had too much time to write this week or last week. I wanted to post example pages of my health journal. I kinda like how this turned out, though. I might do more of it this weekend. 🙂

Cáscara


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I recently started my very first health journal. Not a diet journal or a fitness journal but a health journal. It helps me keep track of my daily physical activities, food intake, how many cups of coffee I consume, my mood for the day, general thoughts about health, etc. It also helps me plan our menu for the week. I’ll delve more into that in another journal entry. Today’s entry in my health journal is about this “tea” that I recently discovered through Everyday Coffee PH (Not affiliated with them BTW, I’m just a happy customer. They’re my main source of freshly-roasted coffee beans).

It’s called Cáscara which is Spanish for husk. It’s made of coffee cherry skin and pulp that’s dried and lightly roasted. It’s actually not at all like tea leaves but it’s called coffee cherry tea. It’s also called sultana in some places.

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A few grams of these husks are steeped in hot water for about 5-7 minutes and can be enjoyed hot or cold. I’m not an avid tea drinker but I really enjoy this drink. By itself, it tastes sweeter than other teas that I’ve tried. You don’t actually need to add any sweetener to it, but you can add a bit of brown sugar or honey if you want it to be a bit sweeter. It tastes like sweet raisins and has a subtle hint of berry. If you use honey, it tastes a bit like wintermelon tea. It’s surprisingly good, actually.

It’s also found to be rich in flavanols. This secret superfood is said to have more antioxidants than blueberries. It’s great that Cáscara gives coffee farmers another stream of income from what used to be considered as a byproduct of harvesting coffee beans. It gives an additional income boost for the farmers.

If you want to read more about Cáscara, check out: The Truth About Cascara.

Test Drawings for Platinum Carbon Ink


I got my first waterproof black ink last week. The waterproof Noodlers inks are always out of stock, so I bought a bottle of Platinum Carbon Ink off a friend’s collection. I made a few test drawings on my journal to see how well they hold up with watercolors. Needless to say, I am so happy with the results.

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I love that the ink stays vibrant on the page even after drying up. Some inks become flat when dry, but this one stays shiny. It looks almost like it’s still wet on the page. It’s really saturated, so it’s best not to leave it in a pen that’s going to sit unused for too long. Smells a bit like Noodlers inks, too. The flow is pretty wet, I am very happy with it. It doesn’t seem to take longer to dry compared with most of my wet-flowing inks.

If you’re looking for thick, super-black ink that shows no shading and stays vibrant after drying, I would highly recommend this.

 

Cook Up a Storm


Earlier today we watched this movie called Cook Up a Storm and I wrote a review of it in my journal. It was a fun movie, and I like how the set was designed; a modern city slowly inching out the small neighborhoods. The old and the new buildings struggling for a foothold. Drawing people and buildings don’t come easy for me, but sometimes I manage to wrangle out something that I like enough.

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I also tried out the birthday gift my husband gave me, a digital drawing pad. I’ve never had one before, but I’ve always been curious about doing digital art. It really requires a different skill set because you’re not just drawing, you’re also puttering around a software (or two). I figured out how to do pencil drawings, but I haven’t quite figured out how to color yet. It’s so much fun doing digital drawings, once you get over having to look at the screen while you draw.

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The movie was quite fun. It’s a little preachy and cheesy at times, but it’s a nice, feel-good movie with lots of great food shots. I like the values that the  movie tries to highlight. The fact that modern and traditional don’t need to be at odds with each other, and that we can all learn something from one another. That success and fame isn’t all that’s important in life, and how food can be inclusive if we want it to be. That fame can be fickle, but failure can be the path to finding new people, better people, to let in your life. It’s a nice, family-friendly movie. 🙂

Dream Catcher 2


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A friend of mine asked if he could have the first dream catcher painting I did, but I couldn’t give it to him so I promised I would just make him a new one. Today I finally had the time to sit down and work on it. It was a pretty interesting experience, trying to recreate a piece. It resulted to different paintings, of course, I couldn’t even recreate the number of loops in the original dream catcher, but I like them both. They’re about the same subject but they’re different.

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Here’s a side by side comparison of the two. The original one on the left is in a clear folder, the light is reflecting on the plastic a bit. I like them both. Makes me want to paint a series. Maybe someday. 🙂

Beauty and the Beast


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Here’s a journal entry I wrote a couple of days ago about the Beauty and the Beast adaptation this year. I’ve been meaning to write about this but only got around to it now. I was honestly not too excited about the movie because I don’t really like the story of Beauty and the Beast. I found the animated movie to be a bit weird, but then again I didn’t like fairy tales even as a child. The animated movie didn’t make much sense to me because it seemed the basis for their “true love” was too shallow.

The movie was quite the surprise because the core of the story stuck to the traditional fairy tale plot, but the addition of Belle and Beast’s back stories made the entire thing about their “love” quite plausible. There were a lot of things about this adaptation that I liked. One is how Belle didn’t feel like she didn’t fit in to the little town’s “provincial life” not just because she’s like the odd girl out, but also because there’s a whole episode in her life that her father didn’t want to tell her about. This film’s Belle was strong, intelligent, compassionate, intellectually curious. She was also an outsider who was keenly aware of the majority of the town’s rejection of her “strangeness”. Her relationship with Beast progressed from resentment to friendship gradually, by getting to know him and his story.

Unlike the animated film where it’s almost taken for granted that it’s Belle’s affection Beast must win, the 2017 adaptation is more balanced. Both Belle and Beast needed to learn how to love each other in order for the curse to be broken. Beast didn’t automatically fall in love with Belle just because she was beautiful. He had to grow into it too.

Both found common ground with their being rejected because of how different they are from other people, both also found another common ground, and it’s probably the  best thing you can base a friendship on–a meeting of the minds. I loved those scenes where they read together. It reminded me of when my husband and I haven’t even started to go out yet. Our friendship took on a different level when we discovered that we both liked to read. We would read the same book and then spend hours talking about it, among other things. This meeting of the minds gives each other an open door, an invitation to step in and get to know each other in a deeper sense. Until now, my husband and I still love going somewhere quiet so we can sit together and read our books, and talk, and talk some more.

That kind of friendship is fertile ground for love. That kind of story goes beyond the superficiality of being beautiful or beastly.

There are a lot of other things I loved about the movie, but this part about them discovering kindred spirits in each other is my favorite. 🙂