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 Mich’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.

Follow at

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 Mich, and Mich 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

Random thoughts on a Thursday.

You know what, I have this blank New Post page opened since the start of my work shift (10:30 PM Manila). I just woke up from a quick nap and it’s now 5:42 AM and I thought it would be a real waste if I don’t write anything today.

I bet a lot of people does #RandomThoughts posts, but Victoria absolutely nails hers with amusing raw honesty. I wish I can write like that, but oh well. Here goes my bullet points.


  • Mich said she knows which of my posts were written “from the heart” and which ones looked like I was “trying too hard to be a blogger.” Haha. That got me thinking; I wonder how she could tell.
  • The 30 Days Of Writing Challenge sounds awesome, but I worry about the days when I really can’t think of anything at all to write. What if I produce crap after crap just to fill the 30-day quota?
  • Have you guys heard of Morning Pages? It’s a writing therapy where you fill 3 blank pages with uncensored stream-of-consciousness writing first thing when you wake up. Apparently, you’ll discover a lot of things about yourself if you make this a habit. I just *might* start doing it once I stop being lazy.


  • After listening to Kate Bingaman-Burt’s interview over The Jealous Curator’s podcast, I’m thinking about what kind of personal project I could also immerse myself in. Kate drew one item she purchased every day, which made her aware of her spending habits AND also a good practice for the kind of drawing she’s known for today. Another funny thing is she “drew” her monthly credit card statements and promised herself she wouldn’t stop drawing (and posting them online!) until she’s paid it all off. She eventually did — 6 years later.
I really like this color combination — it’s like earth and sunset and coffee. | Pen used: Faber-Castell Pitt Pen

  • It’s been ages since I last conducted a lettering workshop. My mind says I’m no longer as good as I was back when I was actively teaching, but I might do it again this year. For free. (Or you can feed me a slice of cheesecake.)


  • The Starbucks store beside my office building closed down yesterday. I stayed until their final call for orders last night. Over the years, I have become friends with all the baristas, and seeing the mermaid logo removed and the glass windows boarded up with manila paper was just sad.
  • I agree with all the tweets about how January felt like 3 months long while February was over in a blink. One more month and I’ll be 30. Shit.

How’s your March 1st going? :)

Featured photo by Andrew Ridley on Unsplash

Not uninspired; just lazy.

Revelation. Also, it took me an hour to do this. (Pen: Pentel Fude Touch from Daiso)

Raise your hand if you know you’re  just friggin’ lazy.

I’ve been telling myself for a couple years now that I’m just uninspired; that I have hit the dreaded ‘wall’ and couldn’t get around it; that I think I already lost my mojo… and plenty other excuses. In the midst of having this so-called ‘artist’s block’, I’ve read cover-to-cover books that are popular within the creative community in the hopes of jump-starting my artsy mode: Austin Kleon’s Steal Like An Artist, Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear, Timothy Goodman’s Sharpie Art Workshop. But it didn’t help. You know why? Because I’m not really uninspired. I’m just lazy.

This tissue handled the Pentel’s ink quite well.  Good job, 7-11!

It started because I was too much of a scaredy-cat — still am, as a matter of fact. I don’t want to take risks and make mistakes. Fear, self-doubt, and unwillingness to put in the necessary work — all of these led to me putting creative work aside until I just became impassive about it.

To solve a problem, you have to acknowledge that it exists in the first place. Ergo, to get my ass moving, I have to acknowledge the reason why it wouldn’t.

Fear and self-doubt is not going to leave me overnight; heck, even seasoned artists still have the impostor’s syndrome. But laziness is totally unacceptable. Laziness says, “yeah, sure, you can do that. Tomorrow sounds good. You can just chill for a bit today.” And I’ve been chillin’, dude. For almost two years.

During last weekend’s Big Bad Wolf book sale, I picked up Fingerprint No. 2, a graphic design inspiration book, and leafing through it had me thinking again about my art and the direction I want it to take. I know that I’m good — although I keep saying otherwise, I know that I am. And I’m putting modesty aside for now because I want to say this: you shouldn’t be satisfied with just having the potential. When you know that you’re good, you owe it to yourself to make something out of that talent and not waste it — which is the one thing you will never hear laziness say.

“Thinking is the enemy of creativity.” — Ray Bradbury

Featured photo by yours truly

The Big Bad Wolf is everything it says it is.

To all book lovers/hoarders/readers in Manila: free your schedule, make time and sit tight through city traffic because you wouldn’t want to miss this fair.

I had no idea what Big Bad Wolf was until my girl Mich mentioned that there’s a massive book sale happening at the World Trade Center. Now I wouldn’t call myself a certified reader; it’s been years since I sincerely wanted to devour as much books as I could absorb. But Kate’s blog post about BBW — specially when she told me that her friend got so much art books at super discounted prices — gave me the biggest reason to see just how bad this big Wolf was for myself.

We arrived at World Trade several minutes before midnight (thank goodness it’s a 24-hour thing) and OH. MY. FRIGGIN’. GOSH. WHAT A FUCKING TREAT!!! Row after row after row of books. It’s Disneyland for bookworms!

If you ask me, the organizers categorized the books pretty well. There are multiple rows each for different genres such as general fiction, young adult, self-help, memoirs, et cetera. Mainstream authors/books are rare, maybe because it might be virtually impossible to bring their prices down to 80% discount for a brand new copy.

But the real gem — at least for me, of course — was the section for architecture, arts, and graphic design. The selections were so vast, I was overwhelmed at first! Mich and I knew it wouldn’t work if we go through each section at the same time, so we explored the place separately. Around 1.5 hours later, I found her with nine books already in her cart hee hee!

We finished everything at 4:00 AM — four hours of happy shopping. Like I said, I’m not much of a reader these days so I only bought two while Mich took home four. But we’re planning to return this weekend. After all, a book sale with prices this low — ranging on average from PHP 200 to PHP 400 — you’d make sure you’ll really make the most out of it. :)


I’m going at the last day of the sale! What if there are no more books? Can I panic??
Not yet, dear. The staff replenishes their stock every now and then. I think they’re pretty well prepared for it, considering that it’s going to run 24/7 for a week.

I want to open my own bookstore. Can I hoard books from Big Bad Wolf?
Better consult with your lawyer first on this one. But on our way in, we saw several people who looked like they already bought BBW’s entire stock. I guess they have the same idea as you, haha.

Can I check out what other people are buying?
Yes! I recommend this as an extra side activity. I very subtly take a peek at what kind of books people throw in their carts. Gives me an idea what kind of people they are.

Did you see any celebrity?
Cherry Pie Picache.

Big Bad Wolf will be at the World Trade Center until this Sunday, February 25th. Event will officially close at 11:59 PM. For more information, visit

Kazuo Ishiguro’s “Never Let Me Go” is a snoozefest.

Before I give my opinionated view of the book, allow me to ramble a bit first. I used to have a 12/12 reading goal — 12 books for 12 months. But life happened and I lost interest in a lot of things, which made my previous year a dismal one in terms of reading. I think I only managed to finish three titles. Three. For the entire year.

That being said, 2018 will not be the year when I’ll revive my 12/12 goal. But I did sign up for our office book club (yay!) which is a good start. By the way, how I joined was pretty much an ‘accident.’ The club members were scheduled to have their book discussion after office hours one Saturday. Since my date wasn’t going to be until much later, I asked if I could sit in to kill time. The session was very engaging that I found myself looking forward to the next one, so I decided to officially become a part of it. ^_^


So with that short rambling out of the way, let’s go to our book club’s first title, and also my first for this year: TIME Magazine’s best novel of 2005, Never Let Me Go.

That sounds like a cheesy chic lit, but this book is anything but. Instead, it is a dystopian/sci-fi ish story about clones told from one clone’s point of view. 

Unfortunately, that point of view belongs to Kathy, and I say unfortunate because between her and Ruth and Tom — the book’s three regular characters — Kathy has the most bland personality. Her account in flashbacks offer no more insight than, say, if you just watch their entire lives through a telescope. While Kathy sounded thoughtful and analytical, her storytelling is monotonous and excruciatingly slow paced. I had to skip through a lot of pages, but I didn’t get any action until Page 956 of the epub — and the entire thing was 1,164 epub pages long.

The quote above is from said “action” scene and the story’s grand reveal. But when the confrontation ended, the book went back to its droning state.

I generally find dystopian stories interesting because it invites the question, “what if it’s the same in real life?”  Indeed, the world in NLMG isn’t as far-fetched as, say, The Hunger Games. Cloning technology is already here and it has successfully cloned at least 17 animal species to date. NLMG explores a world were human cloning was not only perfected: it has already become a life-altering necessity. The moral and ethical conflicts posed by Ishiguro — mainly, is it humane to treat human clones as disposable organ donors — generated great discussion during our book club session, which I actually enjoyed.

But the book itself… meh.

Featured photo from Google Images

an artist | a slacker | a paradox

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