Starting 2018 Right

Happy New Year to you reading this post!

For the first time in twenty four years, I feel good about starting the year. You’d be surprised—the past few years (especially after my 20th year) were difficult. I was at a place where I either wanted to attain something (and couldn’t sit still) or I was just too busy to even care about how to “start the year right”. Don’t get me wrong, though—I love January. It’s my favorite month! It’s my birthday on the 14th, so I’m always at a general cleaning phase during the first few weeks of January. That also means, I’m more keen to jot down my new goals in time for a new age. (I have to admit though, 25 scares the hell out of me.)

Blame it on the fact that maybe 2017 was that bad (okay, it wasn’t thaaat bad, but it wasn’t good in general), the optimistic part of me is hoping this year will be better to some extent. NGL, I ended last year on a pretty good note. Being in Europe, meeting new people, celebrating Christmas & NY in an unfamiliar city—my kind of thing.

(Anyway! Back to 2018!)

Decision fatigue is a normal thing for me, especially every year when I shortlist the journals and planners that I will be using. I’m picky with my notebooks; I have specific guidelines. They have to be dotted, cream, A5 size minimum, etc. They also have to be adaptable for specific purposes. (OMG I hope you’re not judging me lololol) I think I’ve had my fair share of good and bad journals. I think I never used the same thing twice (except for #ABCDailyJournal because I’m biased AF) because I still haven’t found *the* perfect journal for work, for personal stuff, etc. Also, I think keeping things varied makes the routine less boring, you know? To each his own. I can’t commit to the same thing every year. I can’t even commit in general to anything else except my job (for now). OOPS OKAY MOVING ON

Here’s the thing. All my life, I have confided in notebooks to record my dreams, goals, work notes, personal essays, everything basically. From my 2007 Monet journal filled with high school angst to my 2015 notebook of plans & ideas for The ABCs of Hand Lettering (my first book), notebooks have become my best friends throughout my lifetime. I use at least 3 notebooks simultaneously – one for work, one for maybe a book or big project, and another one for personal endeavours. And since I’m a natural introvert, I feel like it’s become an extension of myself in written form.

This year, I’ve handpicked these notebooks to keep track of my (crazy) life. I’ve divided it into DAILY & TRAVEL. Watch the vlog below for more about my 2018 journals  😀

Also, a comprehensive list from the video above:



  • Agenda 2018 – work tasks (available at National Book Store)
  • Hobonichi Weeks – personal errands (purchased in Japan)


  • Noted Journal A6 size – mini travel journal (more info below)
  • ABC Daily Journal – daily happenings (available at National Book Store, SM Stationery, and here)
  • Sunday Night Journal – weekly recap (available at


  • Ephemera notebook holder (from Traveler’s Factory Japan)
  • washi tape set (available at National Book Store)
  • Kate Spade stamp (available at National Book Store)
  • En Route washi tape (available here)
  • Make Things Happen washi tape (available here)
  • Deco tape (from Kaila /
  • sticker booklet (available at National Book Store)
  • sticky notes (available at National Book Store)
  • Kikki.K sticky notes (available at National Book Store)
  • Enjoy The Journey clear stamp set (available here)
  • Leather card case (from Kaila /
  • Kikki.K Paper Book For Everyday Inspiration (available at National Book Store)

*Note: I forgot to show my Bullet Journal in the video—but here it is! It’s Leuchtturm 1917. Available at National Book Store.

I used a Rollbahn notebook for work prior to BuJo but since I really wanted to give this a try, I’m finally breaking in my BuJo. Thanks to National Book Store for the gift! I actually got this last 2016 but I was scared to open it. LOL. Gotta face my fears at some point!



As for my travel journals, I’m using only three. Only?!? Hahaha. I’ve narrowed it down to the most useful ones for my preferences.

ABC Travel Journal

I’m using the ABC Travel Journal (a journal I produced in collaboration with IFEX) for sketches and mini collages. This is made of watercolor paper so it’s easy to use for painting and sketching. The paper size is quite big as well, making it suitable for illustrations.

Fun fact: I usually draw/sketch and paint on long trips (like Europe, USA etc) or trips that have a lot of downtime in transit (ie: train / bus rides). I almost never draw after a trip; it’s usually before or during. I end up not touching my travel journal when I get back lol. I usually do my collages after a trip.

*The ABC Travel Journal is available at National Book Store, Fully Booked, SM Stationery & online here.

Traveler’s Notebook (Regular)

For places that have a lot of memorabilia like tickets, brochures, cards—I use my favorite TN in regular size. I find this lengthwise layout pretty fit for what I will put in: Instax photos, labels, stickers, tapes, and the aforementioned ephemera. I do a little writeup after sticking everything on each page.

*I got my TN from Japan but it’s available locally at Scribe.

Noted Journal A6

I recently got an A6 sized journal cover from Noted Journal and it can hold a lot of notebooks! I’m so amazed. I brought it to my Eurotrip + the ABC TJ so it was easier to take along. I particularly like the size of this, and I have 2 inserts: 1 for collages and 1 for daily notes about places visited.

*Available online at Noted Journal PH

Since we’re here, thought I’d share that I have a book on journaling called The ABCs of Journaling. It’s turning 2 years old this year whaaat?!?! If you’re quite iffy about documenting or don’t know where to start, get a copy of my book and learn as you go. There’s also an #ABCsJournalingChallenge on Instagram in case you need some support! My book is available at major bookstores nationwide and online here.

What journals are YOU using this year? Let me know in the comments below!

Always be creating,

Abbey 🙂