Irma's Planner Picks for 2015

There's no denying it, I love planners. Even in this smartphone era, I still use planners. In fact, I don't only have one but three or four in a year for different purposes. 

For 2015, I picked out these planners or calendars or journals. 

Three planners for 2015

I finally graduated from years of using Starbucks planners. I used the Philippine Starbucks planner this year as my prayer journal. But it was so distracting with all the literature on coffee. And it is not easy to customize with washi tapes because of its design. 

I decided then to find simpler and plain ones for next year. I have too many washi tapes and I would like put them in use. 

My first pick is the kikki.K Weekly Planner to serve as my main planner for 2015 to keep track of schedules, to-dos, important dates, etc. 

I love this brand which I learned from Fat Mum Slim's post. Yes, I had to order it from Australia. But it's just perfect as I want a weekly VERTICAL planner to organize my daily schedule. There are not many weekly vertical planners in Bangkok thus the need to source abroad. 

A big mistake though is the size. Lesson learned: Do not simply click on A5 thinking it is smaller than A4. I was surprised to see this large planner. It won't be easy to bring everywhere so the planner stays at home. 

My kikki.K weekly planner

My second pick is the Muji planner which will be my prayer journal. 

I love how basic it looks. And I like how the days are all on one side. That leaves with one page free for whatever I want to write. I'm thinking I'll put down my weekly verses here and list of prayer requests. 

Our family calendar

A dear friend gave me this kikki.K family calendar. When she saw it in the store, she knew I was meant to have it.

We are a family of four and our schedules are becoming crazy. Our eldest son's activities are just coming up one by one. Pretty soon our little Caleb will have schedules of his own. It is nice to see a large enough calendar with all our activities so we can sort our schedules out.  Love the stickers and the dinner planner. The menu planner is so me as I only cook one dish a day which is for dinner. 

And there you have it, my attempt at organizing our family life. Take note that I wrote down "organize" instead of plan. 

My biggest lesson this year is that I am not in control but God is. It's not about what I want for my life but what He wants. So whatever it is that He thinks is right for my family, I will write them down on these planners/calendars. 

How do you organize your year? What planners do you use if you ever use one?

The Red Cups

One of those things I look forward to every year is when Starbucks bring out the red cups. It officially starts Christmas season for me. 

These red cups and my ultimate favorite Toffee Nut Latte set the Christmas mood for me. 

I honestly did not notice Starbucks changes the red cup design yearly. My attention to detail - a big BOO! I really thought it was the same red cup every year. Did you know that the red cups come in real ceramic mugs? 

Red Cup collection of Jackie

My friend has the entire set although this photo only shows until 2012. So it came out as early as 2005.

I decided two years ago I want to collect the 12oz mug not the entire set but only those I can easily get. And I only have three now. I bring them out during the red cup season and use them for my morning coffee. 

2011, 2012 and 2013 Red Cups

The 2011 was donated by this wonderful friend whose Starbucks collection is astounding (read her collection here). A year after I decided collecting, Starbucks decided to make my life challenging. The 12oz version was only sold in Germany. Good thing another friend from collecting sent me last year's red cup. For this year, it will again be sold in Europe and I heard the US. Darn. 

Do you agree that the red cups set the Christmas mood?

A Wife's Appeal

Seventeen years ago, I was a daughter whose father was diagnosed with nasopharyngeal cancer (NPC). He passed away three years later due to complications from chemotherapy. 

A month ago, I am a wife whose husband was diagnosed with NPC. 

Did I ask "Why?" Of course I did. I buried all memories of NPC when we buried our father. I said to myself, "Not again..."

"But Lord, I will trust you..."

This was sent to me by our friend Tammy and I just loved it.

This is a test of faith and so much more. Imagine how the enemy is using my greatest fear to shake my core. The difference now is I have a personal relationship with Christ. And it is all I need. 

As a wife, I am appealing for prayers for my husband's recovery and complete healing. Please cover our family with your prayers. 

It's amazing how the Lord has calmed me down. He assures me even in the small things that He is taking care of us. God has also revealed himself in so many ways. It has never been more clear what God wants me to do.

God speaks to me through different channels. A couple of days ago, he spoke to me through Rick Warren's Daily Devotional "Don't Waste Your Pain."

"Your greatest ministry will flow out of your pain — not out of your strengths or your talents but out of the painful experiences of your life. It is your weaknesses that help other people in their need, not your strengths."
"God can use the thing you hate the most in your life, that you’re most disappointed by, and that you wish had never happened. God says, “You can’t change what happened to you. But I can use it for your benefit and for my purposes. When you’re willing to share your brokenness, I can use it to help other people.”"
And I was bawling my eyes out after.

It will be a challenging couple of months of treatment and recovery. We are holding on to God's promises. We will fight this one.  

We claim healing. My husband will be healed. In Jesus' name. 

As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man who had been blind from birth. “Rabbi,” his disciples asked him, “why was this man born blind? Was it because of his own sins or his parents’ sins?” “It was not because of his sins or his parents’ sins,” Jesus answered. “This happened so the power of God could be seen in him. (John 9:1-3 NLT)

Butter London Love

A manicure only lasts me about a week. I usually want to have colorful nails during weekends as we always go out. 

I was introduced to Butter London nail products by a friend just this year. Though I've heard about the brand for a while. Been a loyal user of OPI and Essie products. My go-to nail salon uses OPI products so I never had the chance to explore Butter polishes. 

Why I Like It?

I was so impressed with how fast the polish dries. I usually retouch my polish on a Friday before I sleep. My experience in the past was it would take too long for the polish to dry that I would wake up with scratches or hair lines on my manicure. Butter polish do not have those. As I retouch before sleeping, it means I'd be half asleep when I do my manicure. Butter is very easy to apply that I can do it using the light on my desk lamp. It is effortless. 

I fell in love with nail lacquers of Butter that I keep several bottles now. I'm also happy that the Sephora in Bangkok carries this brand. 

My first try of Butter nail products

Tried the matte finish as top coat

My current nail color, Slapper

My Only "Complain" 

The polish only lasts me three days and my nails would be chipped. OPI lasts me a week. I hope this would change with the release of Butter's Gel Base and Top Coat. I will let how it goes. 

Gel Base and Top Coats
Do you also love Butter London products? What tips do you have for me?

Have a great week!

A Mom of Two

Since Mother's Day was last Sunday, I'd give a little update as to how my life has transitioned to being a mom of two. When I first blogged about having a second child, I was still uncertain and adjusting to my new normal. 

Our firstborn is now 4 1/2 years old and goes to school. The second one is 7 months old. It's a crazy household. I am the hands-on type and my sons never had a nanny - it's all mommy (and daddy). There are times I still can't believe I am raising two boys.

How do I do it? The answer: routines and a little bit of help

Routines make sure everything get done. I believe in schedules, lists and plans. I use several productivity apps. I rely on routines to get me through each day. 

A little bit of help comes in the form of a person who comes in during weekdays to help me with tasks and chores I can delegate. And because of this, I get to focus on my two children. 

Caleb is a pretty easy baby to take care of. He was already sleeping through the night by two months old. Hallelujah! The Babywise Principle works for him. He is a smiling baby. Now he starts to crawl and wants to explore more. He is getting more active. I think, though, I have enough training with his Kuya (older brother) that I can handle him. 

The Kuya, Javi, is pretty much independent and can do most things by himself. Yes, those are the words he would always tell me, "I can do it by myself." Music to a mommy's ears. My first baby is now a little boy. He would still  throw tantrums but he can express himself better now so situations are resolved. He adores school. To think, I was sad when I sent him off on his first day last year. If you ask me now, it is the best thing that ever happened to the two of us. Mommy gets some alone time. He enjoys school. 

My husband and I pretty much worked out a system. We found the time to work out.  Even if my schedule is before sunrise. I enjoy my occasional coffee time. I get time for my grooming rituals (eyebrow grooming, mani/pedi, etc.) every month. We can even bring the whole family to go see a movie when there is a good one we want to see on the big screen. We like dining out with the two kids. We bring them everywhere. We even had a holiday with them. It is not easy. But with careful planning and timing, it is workable. 

I love being a mom. I am not always a joyful mommy. I am still a work in progress. Honestly, I cannot see myself doing any other thing right now except raising my two sons. The years are definitely short. I am grateful for this blessing of being a stay-at-home mom every single day. 

Belated Happy Mother's Day! It's not solely for mothers who gave birth to a child. I think the circle of motherhood is much bigger than what society normally perceive. 

Starbucks City Mug Collection Update: The 300 Mark

I used to talk about my collection of city mugs all the time. That was the height of my collecting. And I needed a lot of help (from anyone) at that time.

My hunting for mugs officially started July 2011. I had less than 10 mugs then. And now January 2013, I have 310 mugs. Gasp! I can't believe it. And that's why I am keeping quiet for now. I have way too many mugs. 

I still don't have a display shelves for them. It was my supposedly big project last year but I got pregnant. The pregnancy trumps everything else. So I need to wait until my children are older before I can display my mugs in shelves. I have two boys. The chances of them breaking the mugs on display are very high.

So where are my mugs? Around a hundred are displayed. A third of the collection is in the Philippines. The rest are in their original boxes inside our spare cabinet. 

Currently, there are 339 mugs in the series I am collecting. I am missing 29. Those would be the new releases and the discontinued ones. The new mugs are easy. And the more patient I get the easier it'll be to find them. I'll never complete them anyway, the discontinued mugs are horrendously expensive. I would need around a thousand dollars each. So forget about them.

Apart from the icon series, I wanted a Christmas version. Again, the old ones are very expensive they are out of the picture. For the last holiday season, Starbucks released the Christmas version of the Relief series. There were only 7 cities so I completed them. Yay!

Berlin, Hong Kong, London, Paris. Seoul, Shanghai and Taipei

There are these two mugs whose design I love the most. They are white on the outside with logo etched in front. The colors are inside and the little details such as flowers are scattered around the mug. If Starbucks will release more I will get them. I use this two for my morning coffee.

My two favorites

And that.s my yearly update. The collecting continues but I have definitely slowed down.

What's the thing you collect? Are you also into mugs like me? Share!
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