how we ended

It’s the sad sequel to a happy beginning.

The last time I was wearing that shirt, I was out on a date with her. We drove to Subic Bay on a whim and had our coziest staycation. She loved it so much, we came back the next weekend.

I’ve been to three relationships before her; five if I’ll include the label-less but almost serious ones. I’m no stranger to heartbreak, you’d think by this time I’d have learned how to handle it better. But you never get used to the pain of losing someone, no matter how many times you’ve been through the wreck.

The short story is that her previous failed relationships scarred her too deep and bound her heart in iron chains. When I came along, there was very little of herself she’s left to give. Even then, we both made the most out of it, and it was the kind of love worth building a future on. It was wonderful.

But her fears caught up, and a lot of days became a struggle between staying despite the rising tide or leaving to have the time and space to heal. In the end, we both knew which one would be the ‘right’ path to choose. When she finally came out to tell me she had to stay away — at least until her heart and head’s already better —  I had no choice but to let her be.

The perfume bottle I bought because she liked its smell on me now sits on my headboard, still new.

Featured photo by yours truly


dang, april’s almost over!

Oh hey, I’m back. ^_^

I have no excuse as to why I haven’t posted in about a month. Truth be told, it’s just one distraction after another. But they are good distractions for the most part, like my birthday (holy shit I’m 30!) and a three-night Boracay trip before that beach temporarily closes. Anyhoo, here’s a rundown of thoughts and things that are keeping me busy lately.


  • A lot’s happening at work right now, but I’m not complaining. I like my company. It’s a desk job, yeah, but the perks are great (read: weekends off, paid vacation on Christmas, easy VL application and approval). I’m currently being crosstrained for a different skillset, which makes me busier than usual.
  • Also I finally got promoted to Level 2 analyst. You know what that means: kaching!


  • Still not over my lazy, lethargic self. My mind’s fired up but my body just wants to be an effin’ couch potato. Is this a sign of aging???
  • Example: last Sunday, I knew I’d have a lot of free time to update my journal and sketchbook after midnight, and I could see in my mind that I’d be doing exactly that. But when it was finally time to grab my pens, I got glued into playing CafeLand until I was too sleepy to do anything else.
  • I know it’s not going to make up in any way, but here’s a sketch I did of the van in front of me while stuck in heavy traffic for three fucking hours.


  • For starters, I don’t feel 30 at all.
  • I can whine about all my disappointments and failure to meet the expectations of what a 30-year-old should have by now, like a steady relationship, own house, perhaps some passive income, et cetera. Believe me, there is no one better at evaluating and grilling myself than I am.
  • How am I planning to spend the next half of my life? By loving myself a little bit more. And to try not to lose sight of the thought that no matter what challenges the present may bring, there is always that chance for the future to be bright and beautiful.


  • I am currently addicted to CafeLand. And Tokyo Ghoul.
  • I want to go back to boxing again, but I don’t have the discipline to even start small.
  • Some days I just want to curl up and be a rock.

I badly need sunshine.

Featured photo by Roman Bozhko on Unsplash

life lately: stress, my mom, and her enlarged heart

This is my most personal post to date and it is not good news, but I feel like I need to talk about it.

Hearts are fragile things || artwork created in Microsoft Paint with optical mouse

Two days ago, my mom was diagnosed with an enlarged heart caused by hypertension and stress. Of the two causes, it’s the latter she’s having a hard time managing. And I hate I HATE that our society does not talk enough about mental health and stress, as if it’s just a minor thing that will automatically go away after a good night’s sleep. In Tagalog, “stress LANG yan.” Well, fuck that.

Unfortunately, my mom never learned to keep her stress levels in check. She broods over problems more frequently and talks about them A LOT. This has become her natural state of thinking over the years, and nobody told her that it isn’t healthy.

Two days ago while walking at Robinson’s after our clinic trip, she said one of her proudest moments were during my brother and I’s graduation — we graduated elementary and high school, respectively, on the same day. I wish she’d talk more often about stuff like that, instead of how Cousin A is ruining his life and Uncle B is giving our family so much headache for cheating yet again on his wife.

I wish somebody her age schooled my mom about the importance of her mental health and personal happiness, but our society never really see it as a serious health hazard. Well people, your mental health is not any less important than your physical health. If you need to take drastic steps to remove toxicity from your life, please please PLEASE find the courage to do so. You don’t have to wait for an actual illness to materialize before you start taking care of your wellbeing. By any means, please start today. Thank you.

a book where they both die at the end

Yes, they died. No, knowing their fate didn’t make it easy.

THE STORY. The year is 2017, in a parallel universe where some unknown technological(?) advancement made it possible to determine the exact date of every human’s death. Within 24 hours, you will receive a live person phone call from Death-Cast to ‘regretfully’ inform you of your ‘untimely’ demise, and that was exactly the call Mateo Torrez received at 12:22 in the morning. Half an hour later in a different place, Rufus Emetrio’s phone showed the same caller ID. Mateo and Rufus were both 18 and strangers to each other, but their common date of death will make for an adventure that’s as inspiring as it is heartbreaking.

Screenshots are boring, so I illustrated the 2017 Kindle book cover instead.

THE VERDICT. I am blaming Victoria as I make it through the roller-coaster of ups and downs while reading this book. Of course, Mateo and Rufus will both die. But that didn’t stop me from rooting for them, for wanting some sort of miracle to turn their fate around. Even if the book never gave me any hope because fucking Death-Cast had perfected its technology with 100% accuracy, I still clung to an unseen silver lining. Maybe the gods will take pity on them. Maybe they will be the exception. Maybe this will be about two teenage boys who found a way to beat death in its game.

Wrong, wrong and wrong.

But the inevitability of their death is what makes the story so engaging. Most importantly, it puts readers in touch with their own mortality. If Death-Cast calls me one day, how am I going to live my End Day?

They Both Die At The End is THAT good in its own uncomfortable way. I think Adam is a genius. It deserves five stars and a spot in my favorite books of all time — for a book about death, it made me think so much about life.

financial literacy sketchnote

Before anything else, let’s get the question “what is a sketchnote?” out of the way first. Sketchnote is another term for visual note-taking. While normal note-taking is just writing linearly, sketchnote makes it more visually appealing layout-wise with the use of additional hand-drawn elements like doodles, illustrations, lines, word containers, et cetera.

Below is my sketchnote from a company-sponsored financial literacy talk I attended the other day:

The talk was conducted by Evan Sayco of IMG, a company advocating for financial literacy among Filipinos. For one hour, Evan talked about why we should be critical about our own finances, and why most of us never really care: because we are, frankly, financially illiterate.

Everyone likes hearing about how to get more money, but only a few people know how to properly manage it. And no, I’m not talking about myself; if anything, I’m the most idiotic person when it comes to handling my moolah.

Anyway, doing this sketchnote was not only fun; it also made me digest the things I got from the talk and narrow it down to six key takeaways. Also, my financial health is currently in dire need of medication. Commissioned projects, anyone? ^_^

plug x art x instagram

Since I decided this year that I’m going to draw more often, I’m always sending my girl photos of my drawings every time I finish one. Being so supportive, she compliments and scolds me at the same time: “what a waste that I’m the only one seeing what you can do.”I remember when I was active in Instagram as @theletteringjunkie two years ago, putting myself out there made me more aware that there are others who are way better than I am. Ironically, the more I tried to earn the title “artist”, the more I denied myself of it.

But my girlfriend’s comment, so simple and straight to the point, echoes in essence the same thing Danielle Krysa said in her blog, The Jealous Curator:

I learned that there are so many kinds of art out there – some that appealed to me, some that didn’t – which meant there must also [be] a place for MY art. I just had to start making it.

I’m not good at plugging/promoting myself, shameless or otherwise. But maybe it’s time to get over the self-destructive thought that my art has no place in the world simply because there are a bunch more people who can create better stuff. So I made a new Instagram account solely for all the beautiful and ugly things I’ll draw, and hopefully this time, I’ll learn not to be cruel with myself too much.

IG: @thefrustratedcreator

Also, a shout out and SUPER thank you to my online buddies Kat and Vienna for following me on IG even before I made an official announcement. I really appreciate the effort, you guys! :’)

I’m jealous of these instagram folks

My Instagram “Following” is more about people who inspire me one way or the other, whether it’s their attitude or fashion sense or beautifully-curated feed, et cetera, and less about people I actually know in real life. But every now and then, I come across someone whose IG game is so leveled up, I can’t help but feel a little jealous.

So who are these Instagram persons I’m talking about?

Instagram: @airinyung

Starting from my most recent discovery, I was led to Airin’s feed when her very dapper flannel + tie + vest #OOTD was featured by a clothing brand I’m following. She had her hair cut now, but she used to have it long and straight that would put shampoo models to shame. And her sharp jaw line just makes her look so manly, whatever state her hair is in. Okay, it already sounds like I’m crushing, which is nope. But man, I would love to have that strong jaw line, tbh. And how she dresses up, even just the plain white ones, is still dope!

Instagram: @joejanem

Like Airin, Jane Joe was featured by another IG page on my feed. She’s a fellow Filipino and I really want her to be my friend if I’m not too shy to reach out. Her photo captions are always insightful and inspirational, I wish she makes a blog. Her outfits are also on point; I’m jealous of how she can rock a short-sleeved polo in a way I never could.

Instagram: @toushai

Shaina is an artist and expert in body painting. But what I really like about her is how she rocks her curly hair. Seriously, I want to get tips because I don’t know how to style mine, while she makes hers look effortlessly adorable. Whether she has it pinned up or let down, the locks are still fucking gorgeous without making her look feminine. I showed her photo to my girlfriend, and she likes how she looks, which makes me burn with jealousy all the more LOL.

Ah, these awesome people. If only I have half their swag, I’ll be killing with my looks every day. On another thought, I’m pretty sure my mom — who’s still in denial that I’m not straight — will definitely have something to say. Siiiiggghh.

P.S. If you’re wondering what those numbers are on the right side of the drawings, i.e., Hair-254, Skin tone-246, et cetera, those are color values for Finecolour markers. They’re a cheap alternative to Copics and I wrote a review about them here. I used Muji 0.38 gel pen for the inking. :)

the frustrated creator

Aside from a few friends *pressuring* me to step up my blogging AND artsy game (no complaints here, though — I honestly think I need the push), my girl is also telling me that I should kick things with a free workshop, and that I should make it happen soon.

Which now brings me to the starting line before I set the ball rolling.

If you possess some keen powers of observation, you would have noticed a few minor changes to my blog:

  • The previous site name “Constantly Reinventing” is now “The Frustrated Creator”
  • I replaced my actual photo of a caricature version of myself (although I’m not *that* good-looking in real life)
  • There’s a calendar widget that will mark the days when I have something published because I’m finally taking on the 30-day challenge (shout out to Kat!)

I also changed my theme two days ago as part of the ‘rebranding’, if you will. It could have been the perfect landing page — clean, easy to navigate, and just enough space for the illustration to pop out.

Sadly, the front page is the only thing I liked about it, so I reverted back to my previous one.

Anyhoo, you must be thinking,  do you really need to bother with all that stuff? Different site name, tweaking your theme, etc.?

Technically, no, I don’t *need* to do all these stuff. But I’m doing them anyway. A year or two ago, I gave up on seriously pursuing my creative dreams. “Lost my mojo” was my usual excuse. Now that I’m going to try my way back into it, I want the front end of that process to reflect the change.

Think of it as sort of like your work or study table. Technically, you can study at that table no matter what state it’s in, but a bit of redecorating can make it more conducive, right?


For the longest time, I was pretty satisfied with the name Constantly Reinventing. Even until now, it’s a perfect description of who I am as a creator: someone who’s always making a change. But it also frustrates me, this seemingly unending cycle of creating and stopping and moving on to something new. Hence, The Frustrated Creator was born.

Odee, may it be your lucky year. ^_^

Featured photo by Social Cut on Unsplash

hooray, I finally learned how to track my expenses!

I’m definitely not the type who religiously tracks expenses. I don’t hate it, but I see it as a laborious process, and my lazy ass self just doesn’t have that kind of energy to add more things to my plate — which is already occupied by sleeping and mindlessly scrolling through Twitter.

But then the days when I’m losing my head thinking where on earth I spent half my salary are starting to outnumber the days when I actually knew where my money went. I find myself stretching my remaining bills thin ’til next payday simply because I couldn’t remember where the rest of them were.

There’s a reason why every financial guru highly encourages expense tracking. I just wish I got into the habit a long time ago instead of being so hard headed about it. Be proud, Past Self; the future you finally decided to start getting her act together!

Anyway, I’m happy to report that things are looking up for my wallet now that I’m tracking every detail of my purchases. I’m using this iOS app called Pocket Expense, which is by far the best expense tracker I’ve tried. It’s not magic, but the improvement was tremendous — in my spending habits, at least. Seeing how much I’ve already burned and how much is left keeps me in check. I no longer go crazy on critical wallet days — our term for the few days preceding payday, where almost everyone are running on minimum purchases because we burned through most of our paycheck on the first week. Bad habits don’t die easily, you know.

Actual screenshot — uh, okay, no.

I kid you not, doing this expense tracking thing is probably the best decision I made finance-wise so far this year. I am quite the spender in real life and I like the feeling of having plenty of money to blow. But I’m turning 30 (gasp!) in less than a month. Adulting is long overdue.

Well, if you have other money-saving tricks, do let me know in the comments, okay?

P.S. This is not a sponsored post. I’m really just lovin’ the app. And I want to have an excuse to draw stuff, even if it meant exerting more effort versus just posting a screenshot. :) 

Featured photo by William Iven on Unsplash

blog tag: playing the Three Things game.

First of all, thank you, Victoria (Biktorya? Bktryaaa? LOL) for the tag. ^_^ I remember answering stuff like this on Tumblr, from the most generic (favorite food, favorite color, favorite underwear, etc.) to the most R-rated outrageous. But I’m kinda happy being able to put a little bit of myself out there each time I answer.

So okay, without further ado, here we go~


  • Harry Potter series, J.K. Rowling
  • Every Day and Another Day, David Levithan
  • The Undomestic Goddess, Sophie Kinsella

TV SHOWS YOU CONSIDER ARE GUILTY PLEASURES (I’m not sure if anime and Kdramas count hahaha so I didn’t include any):

  • Hell’s Kitchen (I like it when Chef Ramsay curses everything and everyone, and the contestants get pressured and fuck things up)
  • American Ninja Warrior
  • MasterChef US (srsly, what is it about this show??? It’s so good!)
I live for these Gordon Ramsay moments.

 (as in things that you actually carry/put in your bag and not things you put on your face, hair, body):

  • Notebook – unlined/dotted/grid
  • my pen case
  • Planner

Honestly, I can leave the house without a bag — just my phone and wallet in my pocket. The three things I enumerated are those that always go inside my bag whenever I have one.


  • My eyebrows because they don’t need any kind of maintenance LOL. I’m not saying they’re always on fleek, but I like the fact that they don’t grow all over the place.
  • -nothing follows-

Wow this is sad haha. I can’t seem to find anything else in my body that I love. I guess I have to work on that.


  • Starbucks iced coffee
  • Notebooks – I have too many blank ones already
  • Social media

(or ones that you can publicly admit without getting jail time):

  • Smoked an insignificant amount of weed (just once)
  • Bribed countless MMDAs (I know, I know, I’m feeding the system. I’m not proud, but…)
  • Drove at EDSA during my Coding Day. I was so worried the whole time, though. Those men in blue can be ruthless.


  • A wallet that magically churns out 20,000 pesos every day hahaha.
  • Can this genie change minds and hearts? I want to wish for my parents and my girl’s parents to accept us and what we have.
  • To not die until I am ready to go.

DREAM JOBS (if money is not an issue):

  • Travel blogger and photographer (who wouldn’t want to get paid to blog and tour the world and sleep in 10-star hotels?)
  • Freelance graphic designer
  • Work at Google or Facebook because I heard they have super nice offices haha

Lastly, COMPLIMENT YOURSELF (because we all need positivity sometimes):

  • You’re doing better than you think you are.
  • Believe it or not, you have the talent to learn and succeed in the creative field.
  • You’re a really kind person.

DONE! Haha. Like I told Victoria, I’m not good at continuing the chain on writing games like this. Also, I think I’d be sad if I tag someone and they don’t participate, haha. Yes, I can be uber sensitive like that, so maybe I’ll end the chain on my end. Although if you want to answer the same Qs, please feel free to do so in your blog. Just don’t forget to tag V, all right? :)

Featured photo by Dan Gold on Unsplash