January 2018 Favorites

 
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Boy, is it good to be blogging again! Towards the end of 2017, I took a break to tie up loose ends, spend time with family and detox, so to speak. It was a stress-free way to end a rather stressful year, and it helped set the tone for the start of 2018.

While I didn’t make actual resolutions this year, I’m pretty happy with the personal accomplishments from this month alone, from running for the first time in three years to voluntarily getting out of my comfort zone on a few occasions. Still working on fixing my sleep schedule, though, because it’s currently 3:31AM as I’m typing this post up.  

Speaking of blog shtuff, I did manage to finalize the new color scheme for the blog redesign that will be rolling out in a couple of months. Thanks to family and friends who gave me some insightful (and heartwarming) feedback, I’ve put together a new color palette that I couldn’t be happier with.

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I've postponed this revamp long enough. Still, while a couple of months might sound far away, rebranding and redesigning my blog on my own is definitely something I shouldn't just rush into.  I do still need to set a deadline and hold myself accountable, so, with that being said, I’m thrilled to announce that the redesign will be live in July. More details and a more specific relaunch date coming soon!

It goes without saying that I’m pretty excited for February (even if it's mostly just planning), but I'm getting ahead of myself again. Here are a couple of things that I loved this month!

January Favorites

1 | Pentel Pocket Brush Pen

 
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I thought I knew what a decent brush pen was, but then I tried this one by Pentel and it completely blew the other ones out of the water. Each bold stroke feels like a dream, and its super soft bristles allow for huge line variation that’ll add character and dimension to your drawings. Best of all, the ink is waterproof when completely dry, so it’s safe to use with watercolors and other water-based mediums. It’ll take a bit of time and practice to get the hang of it but once you do, it’s pretty hard to put down. Hands down, one of the best brush pens I’ve used so far!

2 | Function of Beauty Shampoo

I’m usually wary of products advertised on Facebook because they feel gimmicky and almost scam-like, but my friend convinced me otherwise. As someone with ultra-fine hair (thanks, Mom), I struggle to find a good quality, SLS-free shampoo that’ll add some life to my hair without sending my scalp into panic mode. Not only did Function of Beauty fit the bill with its customizations, but it also gave me the options to pick the intensity of the fragrance, exact hair type and a variety of hair benefits.

 
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I’ve only used it for a week, so I can’t say it’s made a world of a difference. It might just be the placebo effect, but I do like the way it makes my hair and scalp feel. I’ll post a more conclusive review after I’ve used it for a good 30 days.

3 | Baum-kuchen Studio and Shop

 
 

In an attempt to clear out my bookmarks, I ended up making really impulsive purchases from a bunch of online stores that have been sitting in my “shopping” tab for months – one of these shops being Baum-kuchen. BK is actually a brick and mortar studio based in LA where you can find lots of specially curated stationery and lifestyle goods. And I’m head over heels in love with their collections!

You have to visit their site and see for yourself. The detail put into the pieces and the actual packaging of the products exceeded my already high expectations. Wakako and her tight-knit team are clearly passionate about what they do, and it shows in the care put into selecting the products and ensuring that they each serve a beautiful purpose. I just bought washi tapes this time, but it’ll certainly be my go-to shop when I decide to try the Traveler’s Notebook or upgrade my carrying cases.

4 | Trader Joe’s Churro Bites

 
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What’s a monthly Anhthology favorites without a snack from TJ? This time, it’s a huge bag of churro bites – baked corn puffs coated with cinnamon and caramelized brown sugar! I didn’t need any convincing to buy a bag of these. I mean, it’s churros! While it certainly can’t beat the real deal, it does satisfy a craving. It’s sweet, crunchy and probably not good for you – at least it’s baked?

5 | Made in Abyss

Okay, technically I started watching this last month. But whenever I watch a really good anime, I like revisiting scenes and talking about it with those who have seen it too. And that went well into January, sooooo…

 
 

If you haven’t seen Made in Abyss yet, please do! I can’t remember the last time I watched an adventure anime this captivating. The story follows young Riko and a robotic boy name Reg as they venture into the increasingly mysterious and dangerous layers of the Abyss in search of Riko’s mother who dove into the deepest known layer a decade ago never to be seen again.

Don’t let the cutesy character designs and the story of kids going off on an adventure fool you. While it does have its lighthearted moments, the series gets darker and more ominous with each passing layer. Add a spine-chilling soundtrack and gorgeous animation that bring the Abyss to life, and you’ve got one hell of a good watch. I’d go as far as to say it’s one of the best anime series to have come out in 2017. I’ll definitely write a full review on Made in the Abyss in the near future but until then, you can check it out on Amazon Prime!

And that wraps up my wrap-up of January. Depending on how February goes, I might make small changes to how these monthly recaps are structured, but I’ll get to that later on. I’m more excited about the blog redesign in a couple of months, and I hope you are too!