On Being a Student of Life

Photo by Shutterpanda for my cover story inside ABC Magazine (Life Lessons)

Hey, hey! Today, I’m sharing some tidbits from ABC Mag’s launch and my two cents with regards to being a Student of Life—and the reason why we chose this theme for our first issue. 🙂

Above: My first ever “readsearch” attempt. Also known as, I don’t really know what I was doing so I whipped out my notebooks and started brainstorming past 1AM. 

When this project first came into the picture, I’ve never felt more scared in my entire life (true story). Maybe because I loved magazines so much that it terrified me to be given such a huge responsibility to make my own. I kept it under the #abcreadsearch hashtag because “readsearch” was my way of learning the ropes of this project (through reading and researching), in the hopes of being able to effectively use this platform to further contribute to the creative community here in the Philippines.

Related post: #ABCReadSearch is not a book

So grateful I got to work with my editorial team (The A Team), as they have so much experience in the magazine industry. We instantly connected and had the same vision for this publication—it gave me more reason to do my best and give it my all as we slowly churned out content, reached out to contributors, and eventually make this magazine come to life, and become what you have in your hands now. 🙂

What is ABC Magazine?

ABC Magazine is a magazine for artists, crafters, and makers. There’s nothing like it—the first of its kind here in the Philippines, that talks about art, creativity, passion, dreams, travels, and things that pique my personal interests. I’ve always been keen on finding kindred souls, and I believe this publication does just that. I also believe in giving opportunities for others to showcase this work, which is why I personally handpicked each and every person that went into the pages of ABC Magazine.

Also: You might think ABC is Abbey Sy but it’s not (for this particular project)…ABC means to begin (think The ABCs of Hand Lettering and The ABCs of Journaling, lol) or ABC can also mean Always Be Creating, a mantra I’ve been putting out in the open for everyone to remember as they go along with their respective creative journeys. 😃

The magazine is divided into 4 parts: Artspiration (roundups, recommendations, and inspiration), Aesthetic (creativity and design-centric content, travels, productivity hacks and tips), Advice (wise words from fellow artists, real talk, creative issues), and Activity (DIY projects).

“Student of Life”

Art by Gian Nicdao for ABC Magazine

While I was working on the magazine, I had to admit that I was super pressured to make it the “best”. The whole concept of Student of Life didn’t really occur to me until we started to plot out the content and tie it together with my experiences as a self-taught artist. Nowadays, there are just so many ways to learn new things, to become a student again. That’s something most people forget as they grow up. This issue tackles the beauty of beginnings, finding inspiration in the little things, and having that wide-eyed wonder of learning something for the first time.

A Student of Life is…

A Student of Life is Ambitious. But not in the ways we would initially expect. Being ambitious enables you to dream big — and do great things. We all have our own definitions of success, and it’s up to us to acquire the right level of being “ambitious” in order to get to where we want to be. Society right now has shaped us to believe certain factors that contribute to success – don’t listen to them. Listen to what your heart says, what you really want to aim for. Remember that success is not a one-way street, and it varies for everyone, for all walks of life.


When I was young, I never thought that I’d end up here. When I first started, it wasn’t my initial goal to make a magazine. It was one of the things I wanted to do, but it wasn’t what I initially set out to do. I tackled each goal one by one, making my ambition grow, to be the best version of me and to share my art with others.

(Tbh, it still feels surreal that I got to write books and have my work published)

A student of life is Brave. Brave enough to take on obstacles that bring out the best in him or her.

My favorite Disney princess is Mulan – partly because I’m Chinese (lol) but mostly because of her bravery and ability to defy what people thought she couldn’t do (as a girl). I grew up having to prove people that they were wrong about me, and by being brave enough to pursue what I wanted, all they could do was keep quiet and watch from the sidelines.

“You’re so brave, grabe!” my friends would tell me when they found out I quit my job at twenty two, in order to “make art” and “pursue a creative career”. Three years in and I still feel surreal to be able to claim that this is actually my job already. There were definitely a lot of growing pains, transitions, and adjustments that I had to go through. I never saw myself as “brave”, really. I just knew what I wanted and went for it, without looking back.

It’s a vast world out there and to be honest, so many things in life are so uncertain. But you have to be brave enough to face them in order to see what’s on the other side. “Consider pursuing the things that frighten you”, they said. Because after all, these might lead you to realize what you are truly capable of.

 

Lastly, and most importantly, a student of life is Curious. Constantly asking questions, doing “readsearch”, and always eager to learn something new.

In this “School of Life”, we make our own curriculum. There’s no grading system, no set format on how to learn. As we grow older, we become less and less interested of new things and adapting to the times because we say “graduate na ako eh”. But that’s not the point, really. It’s important to always find curiosity in your own life, in what you do. Even on my part, I know that there are still so much things to learn, and so much that I still want to create.

On some days I like taking “field trips” to the grocery, to the bookstore. It may seem like petty things, but they help me discover the neighborhood I live in, the places that inspire me, the things that fuel my creativity. And as an artist, I feel that in order to create more, I have to be more curious to transform what I see into something that I can share with others.

Here are some of my recommendations in books, magazines, websites, films, music, and podcasts:

I spend a huge amount of my week consuming articles and reading things, mostly because I’m one who likes to snoop in on other people’s minds (lololol) and one who likes to find kindred souls on the interwebz. Kidding aside though, this is easily my favorite way to gain new knowledge. 

My preferences for films are always intertwined with music: I like watching biopics (Nowhere Boy is about John Lennon’s childhood! I also like The Social Network and Steve Jobs. Aaron Sorkin is a terrific screenwriter, tbh. Also, Saving Mr. Banks!) and coming-of-age films (Moonrise Kingdom, nuff said! Also, Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist, Juno, Perks of Being a Wallflower, Paper Towns, Submarine), also films that are musically-inclined (Sing Street, Begin Again…you know the drill).

I like a lot of music genres. Even HSM is part of my go-to songs, lol. You can check out my picks on Spotify: Abbey Sy.

Always had an affiliation for stunning visual frames, so Wes Anderson is one of my favorite directors. For obvious reasons. Ask me what my color scheme in life is and I’ll answer Moonrise Kingdom, any day.

Above: a few of my favorites from podcasts to talks. Forgot to add, do watch Abstract: it’s a series on Netflix about design. IT’S AMAZING. Thank me later. 😛

Being curious is not just about books or reading, or “readsearch”ing. It’s about seeing the world around you, going places, and discovering new things in the process. The world is your oyster, and it’s up to you to figure out what you want to know about it. Never stop exploring.

And, leaving you with a quote from Seneca, a Stoic philosopher:

Special thanks to my manager, Tricie Amador, for being my forever editor with writing personal essays and my talks. 😃 (Find her articles inside ABC Mag’s first issue!)

PS: You can catch the live version of this talk on FB below:

Also, sharing some snippets from the launch last Saturday, June 17, at Art Bar! Definitely one of my favorites as it was very intimate. 🙂

Above: Students of Life 🙂 Congrats to the winners of #ABCMagPromo and thanks for attending the talk!

Enjoyed seeing familiar faces and meeting new readers during the signing portion. 🙂

One of the reasons why this launch was so memorable was having some of my closest friends over to celebrate with me. My thesismates from college (aka favorite people) came, as well as my previous interns from my first batch of Team ABC! 😀 Thanks also to my family for always being present. 🙂

A huge thanks to the Summit Books and Events team for helping mount this event…and making this whole thing possible. Huhu!

Thanks also to my current batch of assistants for all the help and making sure the program went smoothly.


ABC Magazine is now available at major bookstores and newsstands nationwide for P250. Published by Summit Books. Follow us on Instagram for updates: instagram.com/abc.mag


#ABCReadSearch is not a book

I can’t remember exactly the very first time I took an interest in reading magazines. But as an introverted “tween” (at eleven years old), I always made my way inside bookstores and getting a copy of W.i.t.c.h. magazine. W.i.t.c.h. was my escape from school— I found myself inside the world of Kandrakar, relating to my favorite characters (Will for her leadership attitude and Cornelia for her love for earthly things).

Years later, I became one of those girls who spent their free time reading about YA novels, crushing on fictional guys, wishing that one day, I could write my own novel and people would fall in love with stories I wrote. At the same time, I was a growing teenager—I now picked up copies of Candy monthly at the bookstore or browse my cousin’s collection of back issues. I’d illustrate the models, create my own outfits, and wish that one day, I’d be able to contribute inside the pages of the magazine. (Plot twist: I got featured, I got to contribute, and I got to redesign their logo!)

 

From what I’ve shared, you could say that I’ve always dreamed of working for a magazine or a publishing house. I just knew it wasn’t an option when I took up an Advertising Management course in college, or decided to pursue a freelance career (well,I was wrong!). I remember fangirling the first time I saw Mimi, EIC of W.i.t.c.h. and also a Managing Editor of Candy then. I remember internally freaking out (in a good way!) the first time I met my publisher, Koko, when I first got my book deal two years ago. I also remember getting goosebumps the first time I stepped into the Summit Media office, telling myself, “OMG you’re actually here—and soon you’ll be an author.”

Two years and two best-selling books later (plot twist: I didn’t write fiction—in fact, I wrote non-fiction!), it still feels surreal to call myself an “author”. I knew I loved words the moment I knew how to read; I knew I loved them the very moment I started aceing my formal theme papers in high school. Little did I know this fascination for making art and weaving words together would lead me to the position I am in right now, as I slowly reveal the #abcreadsearch hashtag that everyone might be wondering about for the past months…

I’m now the Founder and Creative Director of ABC Magazine. 🙂

(And nope, it’s not a book, tv show, vlog, or art cafe. Wahaha. Gotcha!)

I’m out of words as I try to remember how I took in this role. Let’s just say I wanted to hide in a corner and tell myself “YOU CAN’T DO IT” over and over…because I felt that I didn’t know the ropes of how magazine publishing worked. I was wrong. The more I worked on it, the more I realized that all the things I needed to know were already inside of me. I just didn’t know how to use them (at first).

Well, of course, there was the occasional “readsearch”—spending nights reading and dissecting magazines and books like my life depended on it (correction, work. Haha!).

Related Post: Inside my #ABCReadSearch Library

And of course, the fact that I got to work with a powerhouse of a team (we call ourselves “A Team” because…no, not because Ed Sheeran, lol. The initial mag name was supposed to be A Magazine!) really made all of the difference. 🙂

Every time I look back at the working process of this magazine, I laugh a little. It’s not every day you get to do flatlay on a cover, no less (I’ve always been terrified of doing covers since my first book hahaha true fact), and getting to draw and paint and write every day still feels like a surreal part of my job.

The best part, though, was seeing all the submissions from our contributors—while I supervised the creative vision for this magazine (and wrote some articles: mostly life hacks and productivity-related things, as per usual, lol), it was the contributing artists, photographers and writers that really shaped this magazine’s first issue. 🙂

A peek at our cover shoot BTS! (Thanks Macy for being our favorite hand model, lol)

The final thing! EEP. I was totally smiling from ear to ear when I got my copy because look. at. that. teal. IT’S THE PERFECT SHADE.

ABOUT THE FIRST ISSUE

The first issue is about being a Student of Life: learning outside the four walls of school, finding inspiration in the little things, and being open to discovering more about yourself. As for me, making this magazine in itself was definitely a learning experience that’s one for the books (pun intended, haha!).

In this issue, we’ve rounded up an amazing roster of artists and designers to share their insights, showcase their work, as well as stories on starting a creative journey, finding your own voice, and being the best version of yourself. We’ve also included (of course!) snippets from travels and adventures of fellow creatives, places to get your art fix and lots of DIY projects for you to try.

Also, a side note: I’ve always been an advocate to showcase people’s works as I used to be one of those aspiring artists who only dreamt to have their work published (y’all I know that kilig feeling!). So hopefully, this will serve as a platform for me to be able to feature up and coming talents and of course, the people I fangirl over. Haha!

THANK YOUS

Please brace yourselves for a really long thank you portion. I always, always never leave this out because I won’t be able to have done this without the help of these people:

The Summit Books team, for giving me this opportunity, and believing in my vision;

To my editorial team: The A Team! Thanks for sticking it out with me: from the deadlines, Toby’s coffee runs, proofs checking, shoots, brainstorm sessions, random brain farts, and for ALL the help. ALL of it. This magazine would not have been possible without each of your inputs.

Editor-in-Chief: Mimi Tiu (Can you feel my fangirling as I type this?!?!)

Art Director: Katsu Modomo

Managing Editor: Macy Alcaraz

Editorial Assistant: Jean Kelly

Some of the key people who inspired and motivated me to work on this magazine…

Koko, my publisher: who called to tell me last year that I’m tasked to create a magazine of my own. (I cried after.) Thanks for never giving up on me. And for trusting that I can deliver to the standards set, even if I was terrified at the beginning;

Tricie, my manager: my sounding board since day one, my favorite person to bug, to the second voice that always tells me that I can do it, and that it will all go well;

Kaila, one of my big sisters (LDF from Japan lololol): my constant source of positive energy, my sister from another mother, for ALWAYS supporting me from my h.e.a.r.t. days up to Abbey Sy and up to all the babies (thanks for being a ninang to the ABC Fam!);

My best friends and family who have kept me sane throughout the creation of this project, to the people I’ve spent nights talking to as I simultaneously beat my deadlines (haha, you know who you are);

To the people who believed in me, to the people who didn’t, and to that magazine who rejected my artworks, thanks, because it gave me more reason to do my best as I made my own. 🙂 To every person I’ve worked with and met over the past couple of years, thank you.

And of course, to YOU. For sticking it out with me. For being a part of the ABC family. Thank you for the support, for constantly giving me motivation to create and curate and connect.

ABC Magazine will be available starting next week at major bookstores and newsstands for P250. Each issue comes with free inserts: wall art, postcards, and stickers. Published by Summit Books.

I’m so excited to share this new venture with you all. Always be creating, and never stop learning!

Abbey

PS: See you this June 17 for my magazine launch + signing! Details on the next post coming tomorrow. 🙂

Photos of me by Shutter Panda

ABC Magazine photos by Aira Dizon

Inside my #ABCReadSearch Library

If you’re reading my blog for the first time (or maybe, reading my works for the first time, as well), you might be judging me for coming up with such an absurd word. Readsearch? What in the world is that? First things first, let’s talk about that. 😛

WHY #READSEARCH?

It was late last year when an opportunity came about. Not just any opportunity, mind you—it was one of those “PINCH ME I MUST BE DREAMING” ones that still give me the goosebumps up to this day. Spoiler alert, of course I said YES (haha, being the fearless girl I am, let’s leave that for another post soon), and that gave me a reason to do my “read-search”: Reading + Research. Usually, when I take on projects, I go the usual route—immerse myself in a certain topic (that is needed), try to flesh out content, and dive into the real, dirty work of writing, illustrating, compiling information, et cetera.

This one was different, though. It wasn’t as if I could get the answers within myself (unlike the previous books that I’ve written). That’s how #ABCReadSearch started. After collating all my books, magazines, and reading materials, I spent every night browsing design inspiration and putting my mind into overdrive readsearching on visuals, writing styles, illustrations, and lots and lots of editorial layouts. Lots and lots and lots of them, mind you!

ANALOG, ALWAYS

Funny enough, I had one condition—I don’t like seeing things on a screen. So much for being an analog junkie! I piled up most of my reading materials by my workspace for analog researching. Not in photo: lots of sticky notes and tags for referencing. 😀

It was also at this time that I realized my book preferences were usually under the same set of categories for both fiction and non-fiction.

Usually for fiction, I settle for YA (okay, still working on exploring other genres). My favorites are Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell and Paper Towns by John Green. For non-fiction, there are books for visual referencing (that All-American Ads book is my favorite!), for philosophical insights (On Love by Alain de Botton is my favorite), as well as for self-help in both technical and psychological thinking (especially creative-centric ones, like #GIRLBOSS by Sophia Amoruso and Austin Kleon’s books). I have a weakness for magazines geared towards art, crafts, and travel themes (Flow, Frankie, and LOST are some of my go-tos).

TBH, I could spend hours browsing every title, every cover, in every section of a bookshop. Bookstores always become an instant field trip for me, as I get to see which titles are fresh, which ones I’ve yet to discover, and interesting stories that are waiting to be read.

BOOKS AS BEST FRIENDS

I don’t exactly remember the moment I fell in love with books. No, it wasn’t when I first flipped it open at five years old in school. If my memory serves me right, it was when I received my first Princess Diaries book at 12 years old, and I never stopped reading (YA) ever since. Of course, I had to ask why fictional guy characters seem so perfect. Sad to say, they are not real. Haha! Okay, moving on… *rolls eyes*

[above: some of my favorite titles]

Growing up, I was always the shy type. I always had at least one book or notebook inside my bag when we’d go out (up to this day). As an introvert, it was a way for me to get lost in my own thoughts without having to be alone most of the time. Introspective much?

Same goes for visiting bookstores. It amazes me how a small tangible piece of print can make an impact in one’s life (well, at least for me). I always end up wondering what inspired these authors to write, share stories, and make these things come to life. I love visiting bookstores overseas too, because there are just. so. many. books. It feels like heaven on earth.

[book cafes + book shops in Cambodia, Singapore, Chiang Mai]

I gotta say though, being an author has given me more reason to visit bookstores in search of new things to write about. 🙂 While I can go away with completely just looking at type books or creativity-related titles, I now find myself checking out more from self-help, non-fiction, and occasionally, travel. It’s interesting how my preferences have changed over time. I don’t know if it’s a maturity thing, but my standards have been set higher than ever.

Curating, connecting, and creating

I’ve been asking myself the same question for the past few months now: Why am I not making art as much anymore? Is there something missing?

Apart from going through a series of personal things at the first half of 2017 (ugh, #adulting.), I’ve been giving a lot of thought about what else I could give back to the creative community…and not just in terms of making art. I’m very happy to be able to share my creative journey through the books I’ve written. I’m also very grateful to be helping people find their own path in their respective art careers because of the work I put out. But maybe I’m finding it more meaningful and fulfilling to find connections that are beyond the artworks that I post on a regular basis.

[above: a selection of titles from my shelf, + my two babies: The ABCs of Hand Lettering & The ABCs of Journaling]

Content creating has always been part of my DNA, way before Instagram was a thing and back when we all had our Tumblr phases, checking out posts and reblogging like there’s no tomorrow. So now that we’re in an age where content is king (and is everywhere…literally), I’m slowly beginning to realize that apart from creating, I want to be able to curate good work, and find a way to connect it where it’s supposed to be.

I’m very happy that #ABCReadSearch has given me the chance to do just that: to look beyond what is already there. To keep being open to discovering new things, and learning outside the four walls of school. To constantly immerse myself into uncomfortable circumstances, in order to get a breakthrough. To find young and upcoming talent and be able to somehow give them the spotlight they deserve. And to come to terms with the fact that there are still so many things to curate, connect, and create. 🙂

#ABCReadSearch is a repository of behind-the-scenes and works in progress for a dream project. Coming this June 2017! Follow @abcreadsearch on Instagram for updates. Brought to you by none other than Summit Books 🙂

Book photos by Aira Dizon. Photo of me by Shutter Panda, for #abcreadsearch.

Summer, So Far (+ Faves Roundup!)

Way back in my younger years, summer always had to make sense. Mostly because as students, it was a way to unwind from the daily grind of going to school, accomplishing homework, and making sense of a well-balanced school life. I was always making art and “playing outside” with my neighbors, and we spent our summer doing Mother’s Day plays and baking, and all those fun things. Fast forward to growing up years—after my thesis defense in college, I spent my summer interning, working on freelance projects, and eventually landing my first and last corporate job.

These past few years have been entirely different though, and I’m very well assured that they will always get more interesting as every year goes by. One thing’s constant though—I find myself working on very important projects at the first half of the year. I wonder why…:P

Anyway, I’m not here to talk about work, so let me just slip in and share some snaps from my summer (so far) this year. Enjoy the photo diary below! Also, keep reading because I’ll share some of my favorites (podcasts, books, films, you know the drill) at the end of this blog post. 🙂

Went to Hong Kong during the Holy Week! Not much has changed. I always like how busy the streets are.

Me time at Cafe Mido~

Love how they preserved the cha chaan teng style interiors. Also, nothing like good ol’ milk tea and toast. And some writing.

ABCoffee? Lol.

Hong Kong was a nice breather. I was feeling out of myself already (see: previous post) for the past months and I just needed to wander elsewhere, far from home. It was nice also that I got to spend it with my family, as I always travel either alone or with a friend. 🙂


The week after I returned from HK, I attended to a few things: a shoot for #ABCReadSearch and the media launch of my new book, Hand Lettering A to Z. So grateful for National Book Store as they are exclusively carrying copies of HLAZ in their stores!

Above: my proud mommy moment 🙂 It takes a while for me to appreciate whatever I put out (imposter syndrome I guess) so it was nice to celebrate the release of my new book!

Thanks to the fun bunch of students I got to teach during the launch!

Hand Lettering A to Z is available at National Book Store here and Amazon here.


The week after, I left for a week-long trip to none other than Tokyo, Japan. Again???? Yes, I go to Japan every year. Hahaha.

KOniSYwa! Koko makes the best puns. 😛 Also makes for one of my favorite travel buddies, good friends, and achis. <3

(That’s our “coffee while chika” photo, by the way. Selfie sticks are cool.)

This particular Tokyo trip is one of my favorites, because we visited so much places in a week! Art museums, bookstores, coffee shops, and if that isn’t enough, we went to see flower gardens and Mt. Fuji outside of Tokyo! Not to mention our excessive craft shopping (I even bought wood planks, WHAT) at our favorite stores. No regrets! More on my next En Route post.

If anything, I’ve been to Japan seven times already and there is always, always something new to discover in this country. I can’t wait to be back soon for *work stuff*, fingers crossed!

I’m so so happy to be reunited with Kaila as well. We met up last Saturday and spent the day doing our usual life talk sesh, had purikura shots, and explored Nakano and Tokyo with Koko. So. Much. Fun! <3

Kaila has been one of my OG friends since college. She’s always been a constant source of positive energy (#LDRfriendship y’all) and we’re both Capricorns, which explains how much we get along together (about absolutely everything). So happy to see her after so long!

Check out her vlog below for some clips of our fun day together!

Also: watch until the end and see our funny antics while taking photos of the rainbow ice cream in Nakano. LOL.

So much for going abroad to and fro; I’m looking forward to my La Union trip this month! It’s mostly for work but hopefully I get to spend quality time wisely while I’m there. 🙂

Since we’re here, thought I should share a few new things I’ve been consuming lately! Needless to say, my taste has changed. LOL. But I guess that’s part of me maturing into a new person. Let’s leave that topic to another post, then. Hahaha.

THE SCHOOL OF LIFE (YouTube)

Always been a fan of Alain de Botton (On Love is my favorite book!) so The School of Life (which is run by Alain as well) definitely adds to one of my go-to resources. I love watching their videos on YouTube which run from 5-10 minutes and talk about everything from relationships (important!) to work and to self-care.

Check out their YT channel here.

ROOKIE (Podcast)

Rookie magazine in podcast form? Yes please! Tavi Gevinson totally rocks this as she interviews amazing people in various industries. My favorite episode is “Never Settle for Less” which guests the two ladies from Another Round. I love how they’re very open to talking about not just creativity, but also mental health awareness. Also: love the Life Skills part of every episode!

Check out Rookie’s podcast here.

ADULTHOOD MADE EASY (Podcast)

If you’re like me who is still in a love-hate relationship with #adulting, this podcast is for you! Haha, guilty of listening to episodes about relationships and dating (lol because I am uneducated) and things like career changing, handling money in your 20s, etc.

Listen to Adulthood Made Easy here.

HAPPIER (Podcast)

Best known for her book The Happiness Project, Gretchen Rubin and her sister, Elizabeth Craft, tackle about daily issues and finding happiness in this podcast.

Check out Happier’s podcast episodes here.

PERSON OF INTEREST (Series)

Me, watching a crime-drama? Yep, it’s real. Lol. I was convinced to watch this after a friend recommended it to me, and surprisingly, I’m hooked. Something I like watching when I want to deviate entirely from creative work because the cases really get me thinking, and I get transported into another world. Also: their soundtrack is amazing (Intro by The XX wew and many more) and love the quotes in every episode (I took notes because #readsearch lol).

GIRLBOSS (Series)

Despite lots of people disliking the adaptation of the book, I actually liked this! I’m reminded of my early days as Sophia was struggling to build her online business, and telling people it’s an actual business (been there!). Except I’m not as mean as her, I think. Haha. Britt Roberson totally rocks all the outfits, and I love Sophia and Annie’s friendship. Goals!

Lastly, a roundup of films I loved watching this first half of the year!

Angus, Thongs, and Perfect Snogging: The ultimate coming-of-age flick especially for teenage girls. Also, Aaron Johnson is swoon-worthy, aaagh!

20th Century Women: A beautiful look inside the lives of three women in the 20th Century. Annette Bening was amazing!

The Pursuit of Happyness: A reminder that persistence and hard work is always key. Loved this film so much, even if it was so heavy, haha.

The Cutting Edge: You’ll get kilig with the love-hate relationship of the two mains, promise. Also, always love watching ice skating films for some reason, so this was no excuse!

The American President: Not your typical love story. NGL, was SUPER KILIG while watching this film.

Dave: Watched this while in Tokyo and I really enjoyed it. It’s similar to American President because it has something to do with the (fictional) President of the US. Must watch, too!


If ever you find yourself checking out my recommendations above, let me know what you think! Aaahh, felt so good to write here again (out of impulse). Hope you’re having a great summer so far 🙂

Abbey

En Route: Baguio, La Union, Manila

Hello!

Instead of starting off with another “I haven’t updated this blog in quite awhile” statement, let me just say that life has been really interesting the past few months. Apart from learning to spend more time offline (miracle, but I’m working on it!), I surprisingly I ended up going back and forth the same places (for work and personal stuff) and experiencing new things, in the hopes of trying to piece together what 2017 really has in store for me (update: I still haven’t had it figured out yet).

It’s already April and yet I am still a work in progress. Here’s the thing: comfort zones scare me. This year is turning out to be a testament to that, as I’m venturing into 1) work that feels very new to me; and 2) finding time to sort out my life in the process. There is a lot of growing up that I still need to do, I realized.

So in this entry, I’ll try to make sense of my thoughts (and things, and random blahs, really) in conjunction the three places I’ve been to for the first quarter of the year. 🙂

Baguio

I went to Baguio two weekends ago to do demos for an event. Coincidentally, I felt like I needed a long road trip to do some introspection about things that have been on my mind (which are a lot). I have this habit of panicking over the future (don’t most of us do?) and the fear of how I’ll take everything in (mostly work-wise). It’s kind of weird but I try to condition my system properly so I won’t be surprised when they all come to the table.

[Side note: I love my new Lomo’Instant Automat camera! Also, it’s in the exact red shade that I love.]

I did say I like forests and anything surrounding trees when I travel (ironically, I can happily get lost in city lights too), so we had a few minutes in the afternoon in Camp John Hay and I really liked it there. The silence kept me distracted from life for awhile, and it was good 🙂

On a lighter note, super thanks to everyone who dropped by the NBS Color and Calligraphy Fair, participated during my demo time w/ Faber-Castell, and had their books signed! Twas nice to meet you all 😀


La Union

How many times have I been to La Union? I think it’s safe to say I really love it there. I went twice earlier this year and I’m going back again this May (lol) for a workshop. Coincidence much?

I don’t like swimming in the beach, but I love sunsets, the cool breeze, and getting to soak in the warm sun during golden hour. I also love that LU is not too crowded unlike most beaches and it’s low-key but really amazing.

First visit involved spontaneous midnight drives on the road with my college friends, tuna pie drive thru (best!), endless rounds of Exploding Kittens, drinking (haha, I act my age sometimes), and unexpectedly meeting new people (what are the chances!). All I know is I clearly remember everything that happened despite being half drunk on that particular Saturday night. Haha.

Above: with some of my favorite people from college! 🙂

Second visit was well-planned. But ironically I ended up planning things at the last minute. 😛

I’ve been traveling w/ Tricie (who is half my manager and half one of my closest friends) for a long time now but we never went on a road trip, until this LU trip. We ended up spending transit time belting out high school pop punk music (#throwback) and Mariah Carey tunes like we’re real singers. LOL.

We took a weekday trip, which was great, because there weren’t much people. Also got to meet up with new LU friends! If anything, I learned something valuable, too—it feels really good when you open yourself up to people. 🙂 I keep building walls around myself and I realized that there’s no point in closing doors when there’s a whole world of out there to make sense of and discover. (Thanks, Tippy, for always reminding me this!) 

On the way home, I felt a sense of reassurance that 1) I could get myself back together aka fix my work life balance and 2) it’s going to be an interesting 2017. News flash: It really is going to be an interesting one, because I don’t know what’s in store yet. 😛


Manila

I’m spending more weekends at home (in Manila) while I can, because this April and May I will be out and about. Honestly, more than ever, it feels different to be home. But at the same time, there really is no place like it. I see the same view every day and while I take it for granted most days, I really feel a sense of ease that I am in this place, doing the work that I love.

There are days I get to go out, though, which is good. I always have a habit of visiting bookstores to check on new titles and do my “readsearch” (that’s reading + research, by the way) while I can.

Speaking of books, I am still over the moon because my third published book (and first international one!!!) is finally available for pre-order! It’s called Hand Lettering A to Z and it’s published by Rockport Publishers, one of my dream publishing houses. 😀 You can pre-order on Amazon here and on National Book Store here. It’s going to be available worldwide. I’m not crying!!!

I remember looking at titles and I was particularly drawn to a Rockport published book called Drawing Type (which I eventually bought). It was one of my first book acquisitions on lettering and a few years later, here I am, a published author under Rockport! HUHU!

I’ll be sharing more about this in future posts but do keep posted on my other social media accounts for updates.

On another note, I’m almost done working on another baby project! Nope, it’s not a book. 😛

I’m so happy I got to work with the A Team (yes, that eez our name, bec we love Ed Sheeran, half jk) for #ABCReadSearch. This has been what’s keeping me occupied since 2017 started and I can’t be any more proud seeing it slowly come to life. I can’t disclose any more details for now but here’s a promise: it will be out soon! 🙂

Something off-topic: I read this article about True Grit on 99U and I thought I should share it here: click!

My favorite takeaway from the article is: “Enthusiasm is common; endurance is rare.”


Every time I write something here, I feel like there are so many things that still need fixing (for me, tbh). And I really think that mindset is never going away. For someone who constantly runs after what she wants and knows how to get it on her own terms, this year is turning out to be very uncertain. No concrete plans, just what’s right in front of me at the moment. A few planned ones, but it can go both ways. And I don’t know if I should be worried about it (I’m actually not?!) considering I have no control over some things that may or may not come.

Maybe it’s the universe trying to tell me that I should just trust the process and learn to adapt when it happens. Or maybe it’s just me reminding myself that things will turn out for the better. I just have to believe they will.

Abbey

PS: So much for this ending up to be a drama-heavy post. Haha! I hope your first quarter of 2017 went well. 🙂

Dailies: 03 | Hibernation Learnings

January is easily my favorite month because 1) I turn a year older and 2) it marks the start of another 365-day adventure in this place we call Earth. 😀 I ended last year feeling a bit meh, and to be honest, I had to sort out personal issues I had to deal with. Which also leads us to me hibernating this month until February — so today I’m just dropping by to share a few things that transpired over my “supposed” days and weeks off work. News flash: I’m still working. But for the record, it’s been lesser in volume. 😀

Learning the art of chill

(Friends, if you’re reading this, please be proud!)

Hibernating for me is so impossible. So yes, I read. I go out. I work. But I work as needed, and I only allot a few hours to wrack my brain cells and use up a huge chunk of my energy — except when I workout 😛 I’ve been learning to worry less, live more, explore more, ask more questions. Constantly curious? That’s me. But with this new age, I find myself in a state of calm (except, my desk is crazy as hell) and realizing there are things that can be done in the next day, or in the next week. Today, I can chill as I wish. 😀

Much thanks to my manager Tricie who is generally ~chill~ about things and telling me to not worry on a regular basis. (I mean, really, she keeps my life together when I can’t function anymore. TY achi!)

Work-free weekends

I never knew the importance of having nothing planned on Saturday afternoons and Sunday mornings…not until recently. I’ve been going out a lot. I’ve been seeing my best friends, having coffee with my favorite people, doing generally nothing work-related but having fun. 🙂 For the past two years I’ve reserved weekends for brainstorming, working, tiring my eyes out, while everyone else takes breaks and unwinds. Well, looks like I’ve become one of them. 😀

Always grateful for food, friends, and fun <3

Self-imposed Escapes

Two weeks ago I tagged along a weekday trip to Baguio with the Googly Gooeys family! 😀 I realized I love the woods, among all other nature things 😀 I’m scared of the water, so anything terrestrial is okay with me. I also loved the cold weather, getting to read, catching the golden hour, and above all, good food and awesome company. 🙂 Thanks so much Tippeh and Pong! <3

(BTW, the cover photo for this post is a photo view from Pong’s Mamiya film camera. Coolio!)

Little Wonders

There really is nothing like getting to wake up to a workspace brimming with brightness. I feel very Rapunzel in this attic but the silence really allows me to take in beautiful things, think of so many ideas, and give me a creative boost when I need it. Except I really, really, REALLY have to fix the mess that is on my desk as I am typing this entry. LOL.

I haven’t been journaling diligently every day but I’ve been writing every day. How weird is that? I’m really pushing myself to try getting my thoughts out more. Let’s hope this does the trick. 🙂

Can I just say that I’ve been gluing my eyes on this B magazine (specifically this issue) because it’s SO INTERESTING? Or maybe because I love books. I find it so insightful. Penguin Books, u r cool. (Thanks Koko for lending me this!!!)

Venturing into new things

NGL, I’ve never been so scared or excited to work on a project like this. I’m working again with Summit Books and I’ll spill more about that…soon. 🙂 I’m happy I get to work with a team now (a real editorial team!) and brainstorm with so many minds. Looking forward to see the progress in the coming months.

Hello from the Asian version of Gayle King & Oprah Winfrey! Hahahahahaha. #claimingit 😀

#ABCReadSearch will be revealed very soon. Exciting times! <3

Celebrating creativity

Last weekend was my journaling workshop. First for the year! First event, too, and I’ve been really hands-on coordinating with Fully Booked & IFEX to make sure this goes well. And it did! 😀

So, so grateful to everyone who came and supported. I’m so glad most of you made new friends and spent the afternoon geeking out on journaling and decorating your pages. <3

Mega thank you to Tippeh for dropping by, Team ABC and Team IFEX for all the help and support! Will share more about it soon 🙂

Sooo that’s about it so far. How was your January? 🙂

Abbey

Twenty Four: A List

I’m twenty four today! 🙂

The cover photo for this post is a comparison in a span of twenty years (1997 / 2017). Would you believe? I re-enacted the same scene on our living room…except there are now merch displayed there because it’s become our temporary warehouse for Shop Abbey Sy. 😛 ANYWAY~

Every year feels like a rite of passage for me. At fourteen, I received my first journal (from my then “crush” lol) and discovered that I wanted to be an artist and writer. In went the influx of teenage angst, emo days, hiding my feelings in music, and the like. At seventeen, I started a little online shop and at eighteen, I pushed myself further to be creative while I was in college. Coincidentally enough, I shifted to a different course (Advertising), and that has made such a huge impact in my (accidental) career (aka my job now). At twenty two, I received my first book offer, gave a TEDx talk, and eventually resigned from my day job. Maybe it was just coincidence that the stars aligned all at the start of the year. But maybe it was just bound to happen — in that unexpected order.

I guess that’s why birthdays seem to be a significant turning point in my life. Weirdly enough, I’d spend the days before my birthday doing a “general cleaning” or maximizing the last few days of my then age. This year was the same; I took days off and met up with my favorite people, spent more time at home working, enjoying my free time, and brewing up new ideas like I always do (sometimes I think I still work too much but okay let’s not try to discuss that in this post for a change).

Given that I’m a list-loving girl, here are my current musings at the start of the year…or rather, on the first day of being 24. 😀

2017 Plans

(I told myself no ~concrete~ goals so here are things I’m going to do this year. I just don’t know how, when, or why. I’ll figure them out eventually.)

(1) Read more and write more. No excuses this time, and hopefully I get to share more insights in my future projects.

(2) Start a podcast + vlog channel. I’m just putting this out there because I have been itching to do this but I don’t know how or when. We’ll see. 😛

(3) GO TO NEW YORK CITY and see my 3rd book displayed at their local bookstore (all caps because)

(4) Take care of myself more. Not skipping workouts, sleeping early, knowing when to shut off, etc.

Feeling:

(5) Overwhelmed with everything that has happened in a span of two years (really, now)

(6) Grateful for every learning experience, good or bad

(7) Content and surprisingly complacent with where I am right now (miracles happen)

(8) Excited of what’s in store for me this year, and the years to come

Wondering about:

(9) The outcome of this semi-hibernation (will it be good or bad?)

(10) #ABCReadSearch and new responsibilities I’ll be taking on this year (new job description, maybe?)

(11) The multitude of things I still want to create (!!!)

(12) Whether or not I’ll change my sleep habits this year (I have to sleep early. I have to. But here I am editing this at 2AM)

Grateful for:

(13) The best support system I could ever have

(14) Good music, good films, and long discussions with friends on said good music/good films (friends, you know who you are!)

(15) My little happy place – the ABC HQ (it’s been a love-hate relationship but I am grateful to be able to work here)

(16) Staying driven despite the rejections, detours and setbacks

(17) Getting to do what I love. Always.

Looking forward to:

(18) Discovering more about myself — in all aspects. Mostly in non-work related endeavours. 🙂

(19) All the books, films & music I’ll be knowing more about this year. And all the movie marathons I’ll be having on nights off. 😀

(20) Traveling with my favorite people (and hopefully crossing out my dream destination this year!)

Hoping:

(21) To be more fearless, take more risks, and be braver

(22) To never lose my drive for writing, illustrating, and doing things that keep me sane

(23) For more dreams / goals to cross out of my never-ending life bucket list

and most of all —

(24) For the best 🙂

To you reading this: Thank you for dropping by, for being part of my journey, in one way or another. For the support. For showing your appreciation, for making me feel infinite whenever I make art, share stories, and do things that inspire you guys to be better. I feel like this is what I really want to give back to the creative community, and I hope I get to do that. I hope you enjoy your own journey the way I’ve enjoyed mine so far. 🙂

To my future self who will be reading this: I hope you remember those moments that never get written on your diaries — those night drives alone humming to old songs, sudden bursts of possibilities swirling around that crazy workaholic brain of yours, random realizations that come out of the shower, or those funny flashbacks of you realizing how crazy life has been. I know you think it’s crazy, it’s difficult, it’s tough — but it always is. And you know you’ve always been capable enough to get through it and find a way to cut through the cracks. You’re brave, you’re independent, you’re pretty much everything you never thought you’d be. And isn’t that great? You stopped hiding inside your own little cave and found your voice. You do you. As per usual. 🙂

Photos / stills by Tin Villanueva, Shutter Panda & Koko Ko

2016: Year in Review

Where did the past 12 months go? 😮 This question suddenly popped out of my head as I am typing this in my favorite cafe, tucked in at my favorite spot on a quiet Thursday morning.

Every year, I try to put up a little “personal essay” of sorts sharing tidbits of life and overall how things have transpired in a span of a year. (Read: 2014 Highlights / 2015 Highlights)

When I first started blogging at 13 in my (already dead) Multiply account, I had always been fond of keeping records of daily adventures and misadventures, growing pains, and literally anything under the sun I wanted to talk about. That never seemed to change 10 years later, but I think, at this point, it’s more important to write about things that I really want to impart to you, my readers.


NGL, if I were to describe 2016 in one emoji, it would be this: 😮

Read on to find out more about what made this year a memorable one for me.

Becoming an (artist and) author

“You’re such a celebrity now, with all your bestselling books! Wow!” is just an example of something I’d regularly get from someone who attends my events, or people I haven’t seen in so long. It’s so pretentious — this whole “celebrity” thing. And truth be told, I have never even bothered to think of myself that way. At all.

2016 was a patience-testing year, to be honest. It was so overwhelming to take everything all in; and at the same time, be thrown into unknown circumstances. I am so happy (and was a tad bit scared to begin with) that I was given the opportunity to write my second book, despite telling myself at first that I couldn’t do it (my inner critic is horrible). Also, they’ve both become bestsellers here in the Philippines (??? huhuhu) and it’s been amazing, really. I am also grateful to be able to write my first international book, which is coming out in July of 2017 in the US. 🙂

Apart from that, I got to produce my own journal! I have been dreaming this since I was a teenager, and always failed to do it because it wasn’t right enough yet (at the time). Making the ABC Daily Journal come to life was such a rewarding experience. I also got to collaborate with amazing brands and people, and checked off some dreams from my bucket list (such as: my CNN interview!).

A big chunk of this year trained me to be tough, courageous, and logical into putting my mind (and heart) into my work, because I had to snap into the fact that this is my job now. I am both an artist and an author. And I’m looking forward to seeing how this goes in the coming years. 🙂

Related Posts:

The ABCs of Journaling Book Launch | The Making of: The ABCs of Journaling

TEACHING OVERSEAS

Earlier this year, I got to visit Singapore again to conduct my first two overseas workshops. Little did I know, we had to open another class to accommodate another batch of students! 😮 It was great that I met up w/ my friends as well. Thanks too to Jo of The Letter J Supply for the warm welcome. 🙂

Last month, Tippy & I both spent a weekend teaching in Singapore, but this time, bringing our collab workshop overseas: Letters & Colors. 😀 It was a fun experience! Definitely worth remembering. (Thanks also to all the lovely people I got to meet in class!)

Related Post: Workshop Weekend in Singapore

Creative Retreats

My ~wanderlust~ self wouldn’t be quite pleased since I didn’t travel a lot this year. But I’m okay with that. Last year I was always out and about and I didn’t prepare for it, and overall it wasn’t cool.

This year I prioritized on having “creative retreats” every time I leave home, because it gave me more reason to see what’s out there and be wary of the beauty that this world (still) has. Oh, and I got to experience autumn for the first time (in Korea), so, I’m crying contented. 😀

But I guess the best trips this year involved my 2-week vacation in Japan last Spring (where I learned more about myself, tbh) and a quick peek of South Korea last Autumn 😀

Related Posts:

En Route: Tokyo, Japan

En Route: Singapore 2016 Photo Diary

Singapore Roundup: Art, Books, Crafts, Coffee

Stationery Shopping in Korea

Road to self-discovery

With all the challenges and work-related endeavours coming at me this year, they all paved the way for me to know myself more, among other things — and I think it’s pretty much a good way to discover things I haven’t figured out about myself and my behavior in the past years.

I’ve always been an advocate of being a better version of myself, and I think 2016 showed that to me. So, I just discovered how much I loved working out and how it has been an important part of my week (haha, thanks Den & Tippeh!), and staying introverted on a regular basis (does spending a whole day painting alone in the HQ count?) especially after people-filled events. I started listening to podcasts (y’all should listen to Girlboss & Creative Pep Talk), surrounding myself with positive energy, finding time to unwind (ahem, watching movies and One Tree Hill), writing, relaxing, and spending more time with friends and family. For the first time in my life, I’ve never felt freer.

I’ve also never been a settler: I moved to a new website this year, aka the platform you are reading this blog post from. It’s been great so far. I’ve been putting off blogging every once in awhile but I realized that I can’t, so next year I’m planning to expand this more and spend more time writing, since I’ll be on “hibernation” from work early next year. 🙂

Related Posts:

Gratefulness | On Settlements | 2016 Favorites

Meaningful Friendships

There are people who just breeze past your life and leave without any note. And then there are people who constantly check up on you and ask how you’re doing, how you’d like to spend a day outside work. Or people who’d invite you for a lovely conversation-filled day over shopping, coffee, or maybe, a spontaneous workout session. Or notable people whom you can virtually call your “officemates” because why not. 😛

And then there are low-maintenance friendships that have always lasted from the very beginning. Friendships that have been built on fundamental ground. People who don’t necessarily send a “hello” but when you meet up from time to time, it’s like you’re transported to 10 years ago, and nothing seems to have changed.

There are also friends who become family, friends who remind you that at the end of the day, it’s a good life. And that it’s definitely worth living for. 🙂

I have always felt like I was okay being alone, but it’s also perfectly okay to have people to turn to and talk to. This year taught me that — and I’m grateful for every kind soul I’ve met, exchanged life talks with, people who have become my constants, best friends who have always been there since day one — since that day in 2007 where I stopped walking alone in the halls of my alma mater back then (long story). Things have never been better.


Hey, 2016. You did good. It wasn’t all picture-perfect, but it was a good year overall.

So, how did your year go? 🙂

Abbey

The Making of: The ABCs of Journaling

Alternative title: The Road to ABC 2016, or why I even bother to write a little back story every time I work on significant life-invested projects. (Life-invested…does this word exist? Lol)

Well, for the record, I do bother. I like looking back and seeing how a small idea out of my head can suddenly become tangible, refined, and expounded…into a book.

And because I’m quite OC with ~organizing~, here’s a little peek into how I divided my work days during the time I worked on this book (which took around 8 months total…or more). Also added a few notes from my logbook aka this laptop’s notepad. Harhar. 😛

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June 10, Friday, 10:44AM

♫ “Real Love”, Imaginary Future

→ I’m working on the introduction for Chapter 2 – which I’ve been chickening out on for weeks now. How hard is it to write an introduction??? Very hard.

→ I’m having coffee at Equatorial and finishing up the last few sentences for this part of the book. I’m literally navigating my brain for a possible miracle that I get to weave the words properly and at ease. #writerproblems #butiamnotawriter


“But I’m not a writer!” was my biggest excuse as I chickened out on the first few weeks on working on the pitch to present to my publisher. Looking back, I want to pat that doubtful old self of mine on the back. 😛

I initially thought that after writing my first book, my author stint would be over. (After all, I’m an artist by profession, what makes being an author a possible venture for someone who doesn’t write?) I was wrong. And I’m glad I was – because come to think of it, writing and illustrating a book hit two birds in one stone — I really love this aspect of my creative job description. (Thanks, Summit Books, for trusting me. Huhu) 😀

The most challenging & rewarding part of writing was setting a routine that was efficient for me to work. I spent mornings in a nearby cafe, churning out ideas, putting words together into sentences and paragraphs and eventually plotting them on each pages, and visualizing all the content that I wanted to be incorporated in the pages of this book.

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July 13

→ Seeking help from the writing gods – need to weave these words properly like my life depends on it (well, it does, partly)


And that was just the beginning. I always felt like I wasn’t entitled to doing the things I like (probably because I was always an underdog as a young girl, but okay, time to move on) but while building the structure of the pages, I realized that I was entitled — all I needed was to make sure everything made sense. There had to be a connection. Why the text was written in a certain way. What artworks and photos were needed to encapsulate the idea of each chapter. What elements made everything seem to have a cohesive output.

I think I spent countless nights thinking and trying to articulate all the things that had to be put inside. Sometimes I wish I could remind my past self to take it one page at a time. (This feels like thesis tbh, when you’re all working on such a huge project that you gotta have phases to actually be sane and put things together)

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I can say I’m very lucky to be surrounded by a pool of creative, talented, and inspiring people. A few important people who were part of this craaaazy journey — Alysse, Macy, Jaykee, for alignment and coordination; our contributors Aleyn (stylist) & Pat (photographer) for their wonderful work (spot the pages with #flatlaygoals!); there’s my publisher Koko for motivation to finish the deadline (ha!) and for those days when I need to be sane/take days off from book work; there’s my manager Tricie, who can extract the little things I sometimes fail to write about (she writes, too!), there’s Jean, my assistant, who probably knows the most fragile part of myself as we spent weeks dissecting content and researching on facts & figures; aaaaand there’s my resident neighbor & officemate, Tippy, whom I think I spent most of my work days with refining the contents of this book. Everything felt so serious…ly scary. 😮 But being backed up with a strong support system has made all the difference. 😀

And of course, as much as work’s supposed to be serious…I think half of the time I was having too much fun 😛 We had a studio shoot and an outdoor shoot and you wouldn’t think our shoot location was…a playground. LOL. I’m still laughing. Turn to Chapter 5’s Finding Your Own Journaling Style and you’ll see why. 😛

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(Tippy working her arm game + shooting some pages…on the kiddie slide. No kidding.)


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May 30, Monday, 4:22PM

♫ “The Sunshine of Our Youth”, Cheerleader

→ On the way to turn over my illustrations! Huge sigh of relief I finished today.

9:34PM

♫ “Dark Blue”, Jack’s Mannequin

→ Knowing someone believes in you and pushes you to think of ways to be better is the best feeling ever.


Illustrating was a new thing to me — okay, so I draw letters, but that’s entirely different. I’d like to think I sorted out that early on. But diving into drawing and finding my “style” into illustration wasn’t super easy. I can only judge the way I draw with most of the travel journals I’ve managed to make in the past years…that was it.

But recalling how I spent my days drawing the hours away, everything was memorable. Watching indie films while painting (ahem, Juno, Nick & Norah’s, among others), going through several playlists while keeping my mood up; or even painting in the dark in Starbucks after dance class (come to think of it, why did I do this???)…and so much more. I found myself feeling determined to put my mind into something, finish it, and move on to the next task.

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(Left: WIP of my Japan spread / Right: A selection of collected things from my travels)

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(I wrote a little journal about my journey into writing this book. Here’s a peek!)

July 13, Wednesday, 6PM

♫ “Forever”, HAIM

→ Currently battling my inner demons as I try to rewrite the introduction, keep calm with traffic and knowing I have other deadlines due this week.

At the point where you’re almost at the end of making a book, everything suddenly comes clashing and you kind of want to pick up the pieces slowly and wish they’d all work out at some point.

News flash: they will. Also, a tip: reread the pitch. Take time to dissect why you wanted to write this book in the first place. It will all make sense.


One of the hardest obstacles this year was multi-tasking with another book which also required painting…letters, and shooting, and all that. I was also working on The ABC Daily Journal at this time now (which I produced on my own, creative direction-wise). I found that working on several projects has given me the tenacity to just work like crazy. Which is good, but remembering that crazy part of 2016 was…crazy. HAHA 😛

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July 15, Friday, 10:51PM

♫ “Swing, Swing”, The All-American Rejects

→ It’s done, it’s done! Let the waiting game begin.


Funny though, the moment I turned over my last deadline to my art director (after 3-4 months of painting/writing/conceptualizing omg), I missed working on it. It’s the first time I actually felt that way on a project??? Maybe it’s love…Hahaha. I don’t know. I still miss some parts of it as of this typing, and it’s funny how you’re so immersed on the project that once it’s over, you just sit there and wonder what else you want to do…it me. Lol.

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The last few months were…judgement day. Kidding. I think I spent a good few weeks “working” inside Summit Media, with my own cubicle and all. It was fun! I miss the office life sometimes…especially that one time I clocked in at 9AM and clocked out at 7PM. Waw. So much productivity. 😀


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trust

(Above: a set of notebooks I used in the creation of The ABCs of Journaling)

The biggest takeaway of this project was to trust the process. It was so crucial that I believed in myself in every step of the way — I kept asking myself so much questions, it was horrible. But I knew it was part of it. There was always a big question mark as to why I end up working on projects that involve me…writing, illustrating, basically putting all my skill sets to the test. Then again, maybe that’s just the universe telling me to use what I have, and make the most out of it. (or so I think, hahaha)

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My book officially launched last September 10. It was surreal — I squealed upon receiving the first copy of my book a few days before. In fact, that whole week was so surreal, I almost forgot what happened. Haha. Did I want to cry? Feel relieved? Feel fulfilled? I didn’t know. But after the launch, I’d like to think that overall, I was proud of myself — on the rare times that I am. 🙂

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I helped organized the launch with the Summit Books — from the nitty gritty things that came with the event logistics and such, to coordinating with collaborators, friends, and my team. I remembered my Type Lab MNL organizing stint last year and reminded myself that I can pretty much put things in order if I set my mind to it. The event itself was amazing — I was so happy to see everyone filled with joy as they made their way to the different stations, met different people, and had their books signed. 🙂

Anyway, this felt like a personal essay of sorts. Enough with the feelings and drama! Here’s a recap of the book launch last September 10 to cap off this post. 😀

Thanks so much to Gelo Yellow for covering my launch! 🙂

And if you’re asking where to get copies of The ABCs of Journaling

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To purchase at: National Bookstore, Fully Booked, Powerbooks, and other bookstores nationwide

*if you can’t find a copy, usually it’s at the cashier or ask the customer service to reserve a copy for you.

To order online (Philippines only): Shop Abbey Sy
To pre-order online (International): Rainbowholic Shop

Thanks for reading this post! Hope you enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed walking down memory lane to write about it. 🙂

Abbey

Dailies: 02

Hello! Popping in for a few life things. I *told* myself I’d add a couple of snaps on my future posts but okay, I’m moving that to January. Which reminds me, I’m turning 24 in exactly a month. 😮 😐

Anyway, despite that, I was feeling ~bagets~ during Young Star’s prom a few weeks ago. Happy 20th birthday and congrats on the new website! 🙂

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(me, channeling a pseudo-Wes Anderson character…I think)

I also shared some things on being a #girlboss, because staying creative ain’t an easy thing – link here.

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I’ve always mentioned to most of my friends about how I struggle to put on makeup because my face is not equivalent to watercolor paper…and I’m not so good at contouring. HAHA. So, Maine asked me to write a comic about exactly that.

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(View the comic here)

So funny putting all of these random things together. To be honest, the easiest task for me is only putting on eyeliner because it resembles brush lettering a lot. LOL.

Speaking of lettering, I’ve been keeping busy catching up on holiday deadlines + working on a few stuff for the shop. 🙂 ICYMI, we have holiday sets this December + you can download free printable gift tags here. Yer welcz!

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Also: I’m slowly activating my YouTube. So yes, more videos in the coming months, also on this blog!

Click here to subscribe, friends. 😀

In more serious things, I’ve announced recently that I will be taking a 2-month break from freelance work. (Don’t worry guys, I’m still here.) Things have been really hazy for me these couple of months, and I feel that I need a little avenue to recharge (aka, work on personal projects / shop stuff).

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(my “I just finished shooting 10 layouts and this hair bun curl thing is amazing tbh” face)

Sometimes my work-from-home job gets the best of me. There are days that have been terrible and unproductive and I really don’t want to continue having those from time to time. I’ve been slowly trying to recover internally and spend more time with friends to unwind. Hopefully things get better. 🙂

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(This milk-flavored soft-serve made me feel #blessedt tbh)

In other news, my second book is a bestseller (again)! Now on its 2nd month. Yep, October, pretty late but anyway. I’m so happy! 😀 Thanks so much for everyone’s support. You know, I’m really happy that at least one book on the list represents the arts & crafts segment (#represent). Let’s keep it at the list as long as we can, yes?

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The ABCs of Journaling is available at National Book Store branches nationwide for P350.

(and online!) Visit Shop Abbey Sy to order signed copies.

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Last weekend was amazing in general. I went to Davao to give a talk at Graphicon, a graphic design conference organized by the Davao Graphic Designers Community.
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First time to give a talk outside Manila, and super honored to have shared a bit of my process and insights into how I started lettering, becoming a full-fledge artist, and my overall creative journey.

(One of my favorite slides from the talk. Also: new favorite font is Courier New lololol)
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With the organizers and co-speakers. It was great meeting everyone in Davao! I hope to be back again very soon 🙂

 

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Chill Sunday with Tricie by the beach ~ thanks for the company! #bestmanagerever

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We’ve been super busy lately at the shop this week fixing orders. SO much orders came in from last week and our Holiday Sets are running out fast. So overwhelmed. Thank you so much! 🙂 Our shop is open until end of December 31 (we’re prolly just closing operations from Dec.24-25, depending on our courier) so you can shop here for your loved ones this holiday season.

BTW, Thanks SPOT.ph for the feature on our gift sets! 😀

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Ending this Dailies post with a selfie with my fave baby 😀 Well, I really think Riley isn’t much of a baby anymore, more like a kid with his wisdom and funny antics. And his charm every time I ask him to take a photo with me. Harhar.

It’s funny that I’m finishing this post at 8 in the morning; something I rarely do. I’ve been waking up at 7-8AM this week and it’s good, I guess? Waking up early is always good. 😀

There have been a lot of up and downs in the past months for me and I’m positive that slowly, I’ll get to work on that and make small changes here and there. It’s an exciting time to be alive. I’m really looking forward to staying here for the holidays and not worry too much about deadlines or new projects. I constantly have to remind myself that sometimes, it’s really just okay to take things slowly and pace myself in the process. 🙂

How’s the last month of 2016 treating you?

Abbey