Art Mod 2017 at Megatrade Hall 2 SM Megamall

Only an¬†art workshop would be able to get my lazy butt to the North. I cannot express my excitement over this event because I’ll be using Faber-Castell Albrecht Durer Watercolor pencils to teach florals!

Artnebula will also be joining this event so be sure to stop by! ūüôā

 

Travel Diary: Kyoto 2017

We were supposed to go to a day-trip to¬†Kyoto during¬†our 2014 Japan trip but due to my unexpected knee injury, we had to cancel it and just stay in Osaka. I thought it wasn’t a big loss since it’s mostly temples. When we finally pushed through with the¬†day-trip to¬†Kyoto this year, man, was I super shocked that Kyoto is such a beautiful place! One day is not enough to explore it’s beauty!

On our way to Kyoto~
Family pic with the Golden Pavilion. (I forgot to put aside the folding chair lol)

We visited Kinkakuji Temple also known as the Golden Pavilion. There’s so many people so it was difficult to take a solo shot haha! I think it would be nice to share how we travel. So I was in charge of bringing the foldable chair of my mom’s and sometimes I was also carrying the trolley, where all our shopping bags, umbrella, water, etc… are kept. ¬†I definitely felt frustrated at times with all the things I had hanging off me (the thick clothes were already heavy on my tiny frame, and how can I be camera ready with all these stuff!) but I am relieved for the seat and trolley especially when we are all tired. I also want Mom to be comfortable and the chair makes it easier for her to rest.

Sadly, no sakura trees were blooming because we were too early and it was still too cold. I only spotted this little one and it’s still as magical as seeing it for the first time.

Break time. No cold weather can stop me from eating my ice cream.
Mom to me – “Bantayan mo yang kapatid mo baka mali mali yan at san tayo dalhin!”
They said that the further up we go the nicer the bamboos are but we did not reach the top and settled for the entrance. This photo took many tries before I’m satisfied with the crowd at my back.
So refreshing to be away from the city!

We also went to the Arashiyama Bamboo Grove which was super crowded too. We only managed to reach the spot where there are souvenir shops and a small temple; we took a break and decided to go back.

One of my brother’s Japan goal is to eat a good steak so he researched a nearby TripAdvisor recommended restaurant¬†called Otsuka. We passed it on the way to the Bamboo grove but my brother already signed us up in the waiting list (there’s already 3 people on the list even though it’s only 10AM!). After we’ve gone back, there were quite a lot¬†of people in waiting area¬†and they’re already skipped our names! I thought we had to write our names at the bottom again but good thing the kind staff told us we can be the next ones seated. Whew!

Someone’s overly excited about steak!

The steak of course was super delicious (hello we are in Japan!)! We tried out different kinds and at first I thought I will not be able to finish mine but it was so soft and juicy, definitely melts in your mouth! Quite pricey though so it left quite a dent in our food budget. If you go to Kyoto, go and visit Otsuka steak shop!

Wagyu Sirlion Steak Grade A4 –¬†150g ¬•4,200
Murasawa Sirlion Steak Grade A5 – the highest grade for steaks –¬†150g ¬•6,200
A meal to remember!

We actually visited one more temple but I didn’t have a lot of photos of that one because I think it began to drizzle? And I was carrying Mom’s trolley up the winding temple stairs. Too bad. ūüôĀ All the more I am determined to go back to Kyoto and visit the other temples – preferably during sakura season!

Next up on the blog – our trip to Hakone for the hot spring! ūüôā

Read about my post about Tokyo and Shinjuku and a visit to Sekaido as well!

Art Weekend at Commercenter Alabang

I was invited by Artnebula¬†to conduct a Realistic Florals Workshop last May 6 at Commercenter, Alabang. I didn’t hesitate to the offer because (1) it was artnebulaph, an online artshop which I love, providing the materials, and (2) it was going to be in Alabang! I only held one workshop back then in Molito and I really wanted to have another session in the South. We need more art events here!

Artnebula also prepared booths for the invited artists to sell their merchandise! So thoughtful! I’ve never tried selling any of my merchandise (if I have any) in a booth so I had to think about what to print to make it look interesting. I decided on my fave A6 notebooks on different floral designs (keeping with the theme of realistic florals keke~)

I also had some art prints and postcards printed. The colors are crisp and lovely! It looks like the original!

My booth ‚ô•

I also framed the original paintings and put them up for sale/display. Many people thought I hand-painted each notebook and postcard. The quality is that good~

I also got to meet some of my fave people in Instagram – the lovely couple Alfie and Vanessa of Artnebula, Pin of tutubingkarayom, Steph Alvarez,¬†Kat Gosiengfao¬†and Drew Europeo.¬†The day wouldn’t be half as fun without all the funny chika!

My workshop slot is around 4:30 so it was a little bit dark but a lot of students turned up! More than what I was expecting! Good thing I made extra practice sheets.

The workshop is inclusive of materials from Artnebula.¬†We used Sennelier paints (I chose the colors beforehand) and Raphael Kaerell S series brush. I’m loving the brush and even use it extensively until now. I’m actually eyeing an Isabey mop brush from their site. Next time!

Aside from this being my first floral-centric workshop, I also made a point to teach drawing so people know how where to start.
Look at that Hydrangea! My students are fast learners and they each have their own “style” in painting.

Crossing my fingers for another workshop collaboration with Artnebula! This experience was awesome!

If you wish to join my mailing list for workshops, please head over to this form. I’ll make sure to contact you as soon as another workshop opens!

Art Exchange Exhibit and Holbein Clester Watercolor Pad Review

Joined the Art Exchange exhibit last April 18 to 25 where the theme was World Map. The exhibit was held in Greenbelt 5 and organized by The Craft Central. I was pretty excited to get my invite to the exhibit before my trip to Japan. I actually used the Clester watercolor pad I got from Sekaido for the painting since it was the biggest paper I have. More of my thoughts on Clester after a little back story of how I came up with the exhibit concept.

The theme itself was a challenge since the first thing that came to mind for maps was earth and I’m no expert on landscapes and scenery. It took a while for an idea to form that would meet my illustrative style and the theme of maps/earth. The look and feel is quite like a children’s book – because I imagined that this kind of painting to be hung in a bedroom of someone who dreams of travelling. Another challenge was deciding whether to frame it or not, I decided to find a ready-made frame that would be acceptable for the exhibit, instead of customizing since the latter cost a lot.

On to the short paper review…

Clester watercolor pad is acid free, 50% pulp and 50% cotton block sheets. It has a bit of texture which I like. The size I have is 12.5 x 16.3″ and it comes in 24 sheets. I’ve had a good experience with Holbein Albireo which my uncle got me in Sekaido as well. So I wanted to try Clester and got the biggest (?) size. I like that it comes in a non-wired binding and has a ribbon on the side so I can tie it to close. I removed a page off the Clester to work on the exhibit painting so I can tape the edges. However, when I’m working on the Albireo I don’t tear the paper off the pad to paint, so I would assume that this Clester’s paper does not easily rip too. I know there’s a Clester that is 100% cotton and I would like to try that out next time. ūüôā

Here are some BTS photos of how the painting came to be:

Using the Faber Castel watercolor pencils I bought from Sekaido!
Worked on this little by little after my regular job and during weekends. I cannot remember how many hours was it exactly.

Here’s some photos of the Art Exchange exhibit. I was distracted by so many things to see so these are only some of them, but I tried to find the paintings of everyone I knew! I’ve placed their¬†IG handle as well.

Knew immediately this was by Chesun Ong! (@chesun_ong)
By Patty Py (@pattypy)
By Alexis herself! (@inkscribbler) Imagine having to organize Art Exchange AND having the time to paint for the exhibit!

Mine! ‚ô•

I’m so happy to take part in this activity and also got to see how much the art community is expanding its reach to share our crafts to others. It’s never too late to start to get into arts and learn a craft or two. Our world today is different with social media, there’s so many communities ready to help and teach you the skills. A lot of us are self-taught for many years because we all thought art was just some fancy hobby nobody can make a business out of. But thanks to the courage of people like Alexis who put up The Craft Central to make handmade crafts, arts and workshops easily accessible; I believe that art is starting to be more prevalent in people’s lives.

Staycation at Rockwell (plus where we ate)

Our family checked in at¬†Aruga by Rockwell¬†for a short staycation for the holy week. We rarely go to the Powerplant mall¬†so it’s a refreshing change of scenery. I’m mostly sharing here where our family ate when I’m not locked up in the room, binge watching Daredevil or painting.
Hello from the Chua family ūüôā
We stayed in the bedroom suite, good for four persons with two rooms (1 king and 1 queen sized beds), 3 bathrooms, small functioning kitchen, laundry room, dining room and living room.
Everyone just rushed in the room so all my photos have someone in it.
The chef of the night checking the equipment in the kitchen.

For Friday dinner, my brother agreed to cook for us. We actually brought our own ingredients, including the sea bass and scallops. My mom prepared a salad bar and uncle brought some wine to complete dinner. I…poured water for everyone. ūüėõ
The only downer I experienced during the stay is when the aircon leaked in our room when I lowered the aircon temp to 19 but it stopped when I put back the settings to > 20. And it took¬†a long time for the housekeeping/IT person to bring up a remote control for the television (my lola is dying to watch TV). Our rooms come with breakfast buffet in the cafe at the ground floors. There’s a swimming pool on the 3rd floor, which I steered clear of naturally. My uncle went to look at it though and said that the swimming pool doesn’t look like picture on the website. Haha.
A lot of food photos ahead hehe~
For Saturday lunch we went to Single Origins which I heard has good coffee. But of course we ordered lunch first.
My brother and I ordered the Fried Chicken and Waffle. I’m so thankful for the side salad because this serving is too heavy for me. Chicken was ok, nothing spectacular.
Fried chicken and fries for mom and grandma. The fries was good.
Fish and chips

I was excited to try coffee here or Dean and Deluca. Since we had out lunch here, I ordered a Vanilla Latte after lunch. It was really¬†good – just the right sweetness and milkiness. However, my tummy had a bit of trouble afterwards, it might not be the cause of the coffee but rather the combination of all the eating I’ve been doing. Huhu my stomach just rejects being super full.
Retreated back to the hotel to¬†watch series in my laptop and paint¬†an Easter Bunny hahaha. There’s nothing much to do after a trip to the mall. Doing nothing is basically what vacations are for.
Rambla with my fuchsia pants ūüėÄ
For dinner, we decided to look for Rambla, a Spanish restaurant nearby that has great reviews.
Since my tummy felt¬†a little off I only ate bite size portions of the food. But I have to say – they are all delicious! All the food¬†portions are¬†small (as you can see through the photos below), that’s why we ordered a lot. This is on the pricier side.
Gambas Al Ajillo & Shitake Mushrooms – my faves!
Chipirones (baby squid with white beans)
Tuna and Arugula mini pizza
Jamon iberuco mini pizza
Salmon, brie & truffle oil air baguettes
Paella de marisco. The paella looks huge but the pan is very shallow.
Paella de cochinillo Рreally good!
Bacalao

We had a free dessert because my brother used an app that reserves seats for you (I can’t remember it right now). Our free dessert turns out to be churros (no picture) because Rambla has the same owner as La Lola. The churros were served with vanilla ice cream and chocolate dip – so delicious!

Lastly, before we checked out on Easter Sunday and head home, we dined at Pho Phat in Powerplant. Pho Hoa in Alabang Town Center is one of my fave restaurant because the Seafood noodle is so good so I was excited to try another Pho variety.

Chicken Pho. Not as good as the seafood in Pho Hoa.

I was supposed to get the seafood pho for proper comparison but the menu said the broth is spicy. Since I was still nursing my stomach I didn’t want to risk it. My uncle ordered it though and he said it wasn’t even spicy hahaha.

Fish cakes
Vermicelli Bowl
The true winner in Pho Phat. This gigantic mixed fried rice bowl which can feed 3 people.

If you got this far, thank you for reading this super long post, that’s all about food. My family likes to eat and it’s our way of bonding. ūüôā

I’m still going to write about the Part 2 of our Tokyo travel. I have to finish those before next month ends! Please feel free to comment if you have anything to say about this blog. Do you enjoy reading about places to eat?

Travel Diary: Tokyo and Shinjuku 2017

Let me start off this travel diary by saying that I never thought I would be back in Japan again, with my family, so soon. After our trip in Hokkaido two years ago I thought it would take me around 5 years, to earn enough for the family, to go back to my favorite vacation destination. But my mom is not getting any younger and our lives are not getting any easier – what better time than now?

So when my mom was down with traveling we wasted no time in booking our plane tickets and hotel (she might change her mind!). We decided to complete our itinerary from way back 2014 and that was to go to Kyoto. My knee got injured before so we weren’t able to go on a day trip in Kyoto and¬†I was never forgiven because of it. (Is it my fault they have so many stairs???)

One of our most important To Do’s before the trip was to get a JR Pass. JR Pass essentially is a 7 day free pass to all JR railway. Yes it is pricey, around 12k pesos per person but it also lets you take the Shinkansen, which one ticket already costs¬†13,500 yen on a reserved seats train (that’s about 7k php). We opted to take the JR Pass because also of the convenience since we just flash the pass in the JR booth to get in the train station. We no longer need to buy any tickets prior to entering, as long as the train we are taking is located in the JR track. Most of Tokyo anyway have JR trains. You can get a JR pass in the Philippines through travel agencies like this one.

More precious than our wallets in Japan.

Once you purchase your JR Pass here in the Philippines, they will give you documents and receipts to give to the JR train booth in the airport. It’s located one floor down from the arrivals area and the people that work there speak English (yey!) so we had assistance in booking our Shinkansen seats for the entire duration of the trip. Note that Shinkansen are very prompt so always arrive at the train station earlier than what’s written in the ticket. Also, you can change a reservation just by going to the Shinkansen or JR booth in any train station.

First meal in Japan! Just bought this in 7/11 while waiting for the train to take us from the airport to Tokyo station. Everything tastes so good.
Feeling blogger. Ha. This is right in front of Ikebukuro station.
We just discovered that Tobu was really nice mall on our last day. They have an entire floor dedicated filled with cats merchandise!!! Japan why so awesome

Our hotel is located in Ikebukuro which I chose because it’s a setting in an anime that I watched years before. Sakura Hotel (the name is cute too) is actually quite far from Tokyo Station (about 11 station away huh)) and I know my mom and brother will forever blame me for this. But it’s a really nice place! Ikebukuro I mean, not Sakura Hotel. The crowd is young so there’s lots of cafes, bars, karaoke, pachinko and many more (and I think there are yakuzas around)! We saw a lot of people in school uniforms so it might be the ideal destination of students cutting class. My mom was like, “Wala bang pasok ang mga ito?!” (Don’t they have classes!?) Our hotel¬†room was….cozy. But with our huge luggages we had to crab-walk to move in the room. I know my mom will not stand for it but we were in Japan and she can’t do anything about it. Ha.

After depositing our stuff in the hotel, we were off to Shinjuku to visit Sekaido. I talked more about Sekaido in another post because it’s art related and I spazzed too much there. After my mini-shopping we were dead tired already (the family with low energy) so we wanted a quick dinner and rest because the next day is for Kyoto! Finding a quick dinner in Japan is difficult, mainly because there are so many choices and everything looks good. My brother wanted ramen so we found the nearest ramen shop to eat. It was also very cold so a bowl of hot soup is super welcome.

The lone cherry blossom tree in Shinjuku. One day I’ll schedule a trip at the exact time of the cherry blossom season.

 

I love beansprouts! My mom hates it so I ate all the beansprouts while she ate most of the noodles.

   

Got distracted in Shinjuku station because they have a store selling tea with cat printed merchandise. How can I resist? Bought a T-shirt, a souvenir and a lip balm.

The store is called Afternoon Tea and it sells gift items like mugs, tea, soap, perfume, cellphone cases, pouches, etc.. It’s one of those stores that is uniquely Japan that my mom and I love so much.

I’ll end my first Japan post here. There’s not much pictures yet because we just landed and our airplane selfies aren’t very interesting haha. Please look forward to the Kyoto and Hakone post soon (in the next long vacation kekeke~)!

January, February and March 2017 Retrospective

Journaling my highlights, lowlights and other thoughts in this post. I meant this to be a monthly thing but realized that I really want to commit to this only on the 3rd month of the year. As a scrum master by trade I know how important it is to do a retrospective after a certain time in order to help improve the process and the team. It’s not only applicable to work and now I’ve come to realize how much this could have helped me if I started sooner.

This won’t be entirely watercolor or art-centric but I’ll try to add any awesome materials I purchased in this post as well.

Highlights

Japan Trip with family

I couldn’t believe it when my mom said “Let’s go to Tokyo!”. Of all the people to initiate a travel it came from Mom. As usual my brother and I planned the itinerary. Last Japan travel,¬†my request was to go to Odaiba to see the life-size Gundam, this time I wanted to go to Hakone to try the hot springs, visit Sekaido in Harajuku and go temple-tripping in Kyoto. I’ll talk¬†more about my Japan travel in a separate post but you can read about¬†my Sekaido experience here.

Joining an exhibit and future workshops

Since summer is here, a lot of opportunities have opened up in the art community. I hope to keep the momentum going and of course, to deliver the best possible teaching service or painting in all the endeavor I commit myself to. Though I cannot talk about it in detail yet, you’ll probably know about them in my Instagram. ūüôā

Cosrx pimple pad

Cannot¬†rave about this product enough! I discovered it while watching Joan Kim‘s youtube channel. If you haven’t subscribed to her channel, you should! Her focus is skin care and Korean products so it’s super interesting for me! I even watch her daily vlog whenever I could because it’s like taking a vacation in Korea (and she’s doing super fun stuff all the time – like eating!). The pimple pad was sold out in SM Makati beauty department so I went to SM Southmall Watson to purchase it. My acne has significantly decreased and even my cystic pimples aren’t as big as they used to be. I gifted this to my friend as well in the hopes that more people will discover this wonderful product. I was impressed by how easy and quick it was to order this via Beautymnl. Though not as significant as my discovery of Cosrx, I also started using Iope air cushion XP (shade N21) which I now super love! It just sits better on my skin than my previous cushion.

Jan and Feb workshops

Started my year with workshops and I’m glad people are still enthusiastic in learning watercolor like last year! It’s really a very therapeutic medium, especially if you are bogged down by work. It’s a nice and easy hobby to get into.

Lowlights

  1. Still haven’t started on my coloring book idea, which I said was my plan this year. I’m not really sure where to start (aside from drawing of course). I already asked suppliers about printing on 300gsm paper and sad to say, none of their printers are up to the task. I could buy my own printer, but what guarantee do I have that it will do the work? My track record with printers is very bad like all printers I’ve ever owned didn’t last a year (that’s because I don’t use it often so the ink dries up). This one still needs more research.
  2. Family health problems. ¬†My grandmothers conditions are getting worse and even though we chalk it up to age it’s still difficult for the family to see them struggling. Walking and sitting up has been a huge problem and you can tell how much in pain they are. While there isn’t any cure to their ailments I promise to spend more time with them just to keep their spirits up!
  3. Not utilizing this blog enough! I only post a blog once a month and I haven’t uploaded my latest works from late 2016 to early this year. Yikes!

 

Well, that’s it for 3 months worth of highlights and lowlights! And even though I’m posting this around April, it’s still better late than never!

Sekaido: An Artist’s Heaven

I wasn’t mentally prepared for Sekaido.

 

Just like what people who’ve been there told me, it was an artist’s heaven. Sorry for the lack of photos because I was given only 1 hour to roam the entire building and shop, else my family will leave me. *panics* Sekaido is nearest from¬†Shinjuku station. There’s a tourist information center when you get¬†out of the station and they kindly pointed me to the right direction. The tourist information center is near 3 cherry blossom trees so that’s the landmark!
I think 15 minutes was spent being overwhelmed with so many things to see.¬†If it’s your first time in Sekaido, I suggest to have a checklist of stuff you want to find. I already know what I want to look for so that’s the sections I went to. 3rd floor is all about watercolor so I spent my time there but made sure to quickly visit all the floors. There are A LOT of options to choose from for a particular item so I guess that’s where the (happy) problem lies.

 

I wanted to buy more paper (not usually found in the Philippines) but I’ve yet to use my stash of watercolor pads¬†from Fullybooked, which I got from my last workshop. I was looking for a stamp to have my chinese initials engraved but didn’t find anybody to do the engraving. ūüôĀ They have plenty of the marble stamp sticks (so gorgeous!) and the engraving equipment though.
I was thisclose to buying gold powder in a ziplock – but have no idea if they will dissolve in water. Most items have Japanese labels so I didn’t want to risk it.Some brands I saw: Holbein, Kuretake gansai tambi, Maimeri, Faber-Castell, Schmicke, Canson, Daler-Rowney, Steadlter, Pentel, Tombow, and many many more!

My haul from Sekaido:
Holbein Clester watercolor paper block (Was to supposed to get the Albireo but I still have some papers left so opted for a different one.)
Brush (L)
Holbein paint tubes (5ml)
Gold paint
Faber-Castell art grip watercolor pencils – an impulse buy, but I’m definitely seeing a lot of use in this!
My family was shocked when I came out with only a bag hahahaha! I have to use up my existing materials first. ūüėČ One day, hopefully I can return to Japan and to Sekaido. It’s definitely a recommended shop for art enthusiasts and hobbyists (but make sure you come prepared!)!

January and February 2017 Watercolor Workshops

The first two months of the 2017 had been a whirlwind of activities. I completed a¬†workshop each month, again at my favorite place, FullyBooked. I’m very glad that people signed up despite announcing it last year amidst the Christmas holiday, making me more anxious about the upcoming year! I also gave out free watercolor paper sampler pack from tutubingkarayom for the first 5 who availed with materials. It’s called the curiosity pack and also available to purchase online.

Like all my previous workshops, I learned a lot in the preparation and actual session. Realized that I shouldn’t schedule a 2nd workshop too close to the date of the previous workshop (stressful!)! I had a drop-in student during my Watercolor for beginners and I’m glad I brought an extra Prang with me!

First thought – my disheveled hair! Second thought – someone brought their merienda. A participant/watcher (who is also a dear friend) is pregnant so she was happily munching away during the workshop. Lastly, even babies were welcome! Thankfully, my lecture put her to sleep. Hahaha!
Thankfully the same pregnant friend took on the role of being my photographer during the event. ūüôā

I made a lineart for each student in the workshop so they don’t have to deal with sketching on their first portrait painting. On the final portrait though I let them choose which of my painting they want to use for practice.

For March, I have exclusive workshops which I’m pretty excited about, then I’ll be gone for a short vacation (sakuras are calling me~). There might be workshop schedules coming up in April/May, if my schedule permits. ūüėČ

I’m writing more in this blog because it’ll be such a waste for a website not to have¬†any new content. And I must remember to take proper photos of my remaining 2016 work so I can upload them in my portfolio. Still so much in my backlog!!!

Best of 2016

Hello 2017! So I’ve decided to go ahead and write about my 2016 highlights as a keepsake for myself.

1. UK Trip – One major highlight of my 2016¬†is going and spending two weeks in the UK. It’s mostly for work but a lot of fun times squeezed in between. I got to meet great people in Cambridge, eat delicious food, cherish my alone time and explore a number of touristy spots like Abbey Road, Camden, Buckingham Palace, etc… I still pinch myself whenever I think about it. A sub-highlight I should note is that I am now well adjusted to my new work/environment and I’ve established friendships so I don’t feel too anxious waking up in the morning.

2. Watercolor workshops – I got a lot of requests to teach watercolor and it took a lot of courage and preparation to finally set up not one but four workshops last year. I’m hoping this can be a regular thing as I’ve gained so much from teaching and sharing my watercolor passion. I wish to inspire people to create and use any medium¬†to express themselves. Hoping that in 2017 people will still welcome my workshops warmly as they did last year.

3. carlacochua.com revamped! – I finally launched this website and switched to WordPress. Spent a weekend organizing my portfolio, choosing the right theme and tinkering with css. Thanks to my techie friend and Google for all the help in getting this website up and running. I would like to blog more about artsy stuff this year so if you have any suggestions what I can write or share, please comment below.

4. New watercolor brands/materials – Loads of new paints I got last year; Sennelier, ShinHan, Schimcke and my dream paint, Holbein. The latter 3 are artist grade¬†paints so I’m super happy about leveling up my materials. I also invested on Escoda travel brushes, an easel and a travel case. I was on a roll in my art purchases and I’d like to think of that as a good thing since I got exposed to new brands and learned how they work. Someone once asked me how much have I spent on my hobby and honestly, I don’t even want to think about all the accumulated costs of my art stuff. There’s always that feeling of not deserving anything and I’m just wasting my money and time here (“This is not your job.”) but….I don’t want to think that way anymore so I allow myself to be happy (with proper restraints of course). I don’t buy anything on a whim. Most of my more stuff were gifts from friends and family, which I’m truly grateful for.

5. Passing my Scrum Master certification – Woah all the anxiety paid off! This is the second PSM exam/cert I took but the last one was like 4 years ago? So I decided to take a new one. Exams really put a lot of pressure on me as I want to do good, not just pass. This is me as a typical Chinese perfectionist student. I’m a lot more chill now. P.S. for those who don’t know, I work in the IT industry and Scrum Mastering is what I do full-time . Luckily, my team is supportive of my art sideline and come to think of it, a lot of my organization and communication skills come from my day job hehe.

6. Painted my first acryl gouche piece (which is now hanging on a powder room in US). I’m going to explore this medium more this year.

7. Meeting other artists by attending Artambay sa South and the craft central launch party!

8. Adventure with my officemates in a shady beach in Batangas (due to some mutual agreement I can’t speak of their name) where some of us got robbed of our cellphone and wallet while we were enjoying the buffet and evening program. It was like we were suddenly in the set of CSI without any of the competent forensic investigators. All I can say is that this was an inside job and beware of rooms with individual fire exits that can be kicked down by a 12 yr old. Not all highlights are good so I’m putting this one here because it was terrifying and I’ve never experienced anything like that.

9.¬†Attended way more events than I’ve ever done; like the Cambridge year end party, several dinner despedidas with my HS barkada, a wedding and tons¬†of lunch and dinner dates with my closest friends. I actually complained to a close friend on¬†about how much it costs to go out (hello uber!) but this is the reality as your world expands. You meet new people and build new relationships. You invest your time and money because for me these people are worth it.¬†

10. Shanghai trip with the family – I love travelling and being with my family so anything with those two combined is a highlight for me. Another thing I love is not spending anything hahaha which is what happened in Shanghai where everything is just ridiculously expensive. We consoled ourselves by eating Godiva soft-served ice cream and hot chocolate everyday – costing about 55 Yuan each (about 413 pesos – ouch!). Shanghai was clean and not very polluted to my surprise. Even their Disneyland was lovely but kind of lacking as compared to HK Disneyland where you really feel Christmas in the air. There was no Christmas decors in Shanghai Disneyland. On Jan 31 midnight, we waited for some New Year extravaganza and fireworks in our hotel balcony only to realize¬†in China they celebrate Chinese New Year instead. Still there were lots of funny memories during the trip, as expected in a family as weird as ours. ūüôā

Well, thank you 2016! You were a good one. ūüôā