Posts Tagged ‘lifestyle’

is letter-writing passe?

Before email and text messaging, people kept in touch through letters. Penpals waited months to hear from correspondents around the world. When the letters finally arrived, they were opened like little treasures. The stamps were carefully inspected, as were the handwriting (or typewriting, but this was seldom), envelopes, and stationery. Relatives abroad sent missives scrawled on thin aeropost paper that folded over to make its own envelopes. Everyone was a handwriting expert and puzzle decoder, the skill gained from deciphering the chicken tracks sketched by friends and family.

The advances in technology have nearly killed off letter-writing. True, it is now more convenient than ever to communicate with people, yet there is a touch of soul and heart missing in the disturbed electrons that dance across a computer or mobile phone screen.

Interior decoratrix and lifestyle guru Alexandra Stoddard attempts to reverse this trend by waxing lyrical about the art of letter-writing in her book Gift of a Letter (1991).

She tells of her love of stationery, fountain pens, and sealing wax – interests I share – and how she uses these objects to pen handwritten notes to connect to people in an intimate and special way.

She makes clear, though, that you don’t need fancy pens or paper to drop your friends a line. What is important is sending something tangible – a piece of yourself that they can read over and over again, and tuck away in a box to read again later. Telephone conversations and text messages do serve the purpose of keeping people in touch, yet these methods of communication are ephemeral. They travel over the ether and vanish, leaving you with a dim memory of someone’s voice or a shared sentence or two.

Among the things I keep in my “memory box” are letters from my aunt, Araceli “Cely” Ortuoste, our clan matriarch. Her letters share stories about her parents and grandparents whom I never met.  When I visited her in her home in California some years ago, she told me the same stories. Yet the details of our conversations are forgotten; the letters, though, will always be there to remind me. My mother sends greeting cards from the Bay Area; her hand cramps and it’s difficult for her to curl her fingers around a pen, yet she manages to scribble a line or two in inks of different colors. I run my hands over the ridges on the paper and feel her with me, although it has been seven years since we last saw each other.

A letter shows that you cared enough to exert the effort of picking up a pen, writing a few lines with your recipient in mind, and mailing it. Use whatever’s at hand. A stray pentel and a page torn from a notebook are materials enough.

If you don’t like writing, why not send a little gift? A UK-based friend, Annie Merginio-Murgatroyd, mailed Ty Beanie Babies for my daughters; I sent her a signed mini-quilt. No words need be shared; the mere act of sending something that can be touched speaks volumes.

Vita is brevis. Let’s not take anyone or anything for granted. Think of the people you hold dear, and send them a little bit of your heart.

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look, dick and jane.

See Jenny’s planner.

See, see.

It is red. It is Moleskine.

It is an eighteen-month Pocket Weekly Diary from July 2008 to December 2009.

Jenny writes on it with a fountain pen.

Look at the fountain pen.

Look, look.

It is brown. It is old.


It is a 1944 double-jewel Parker Vacumatic with a 14-karat gold stiff extra-fine nib lovingly restored by Butch Palma.


See the pen and the planner.

They are pretty.

Very, very pretty.

Maybe they will help Jenny be more organized and productive and less apt to procastinate and forget important tasks and meetings.

Maybe, maybe.

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todoodlist: simple ways to productivity through paper

Witty Brit writer Nick Cernis offers a simple paper-based productivity and time-management system in his e-book Todoodlist.

Cernis says that complex systems and electronic devices such as PDAs “only add to stress levels.” He explains, “Technology often increases the problem of being productive. It doesn’t always solve it.”

Inspired by methods he developed “to be more productive with less based on my own experience as a fallen gadget geek,” Cernis wrote Todoodlist as a guide for the rest of us. It’s an e-book that “teaches fun ideas and productive methods to get things done using simpler tools that help reduce stress, not compound it.”

What’s in the book? Nick says:

The full contents are split across three handy sections for quick reference:

Part 1) Seven punchy, light-hearted essays exploring our complex lives that tackle the question: “Why’s everything so complex, anyway?” Includes Zen Kitten in a Box and Parrots in Space.

Part 2) Five fun, unmissable, paper-based systems that will change the way you look at pen and paper forever and help you simplify your life. (Don’t miss the story of how I ended up swapping my PDA for a banana!) Features the Todoodlist – a fun way to get things done on paper, and the Sudoku Calendar - another of the deliciously low-tech ideas I use every day.

Part 3) The Five-Step Guide to reduce complexity in your life. Practical advice to help you live simply that you can put into practice and get results with today. Part Three also includes the blueprint for launch, a beautifully simple, one-page printable list of questions to help you launch new projects faster and turn your pipe dreams into reality.

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rockwell’s urban bazaar: holiday series

Power Plant Mall, being delightfully cozy and intimate, is your best bet for a shopping experience that’s both relaxing (no crowds) and exciting (choose from a wide variety of goodies).

Located along Rockwell Drive in Makati City, it’s the ultimate in urban leisure and pleasure.

Here’s the latest news on what’s happening there this weekend:

Rockwell’s Urban Bazaar Holiday Series: October 24-25

‘Tis the season to go shopping! Power Plant Mall invites you to part two of Rockwell’s Urban Bazaar: Holiday Series, a fabulously hassle-free Christmas shopping experience happening on October 24 & 25 (Friday 12NN-8PM & Saturday 10AM-8PM) at the Rockwell Tent.

Get a head start on your holiday gift buying this month with over 80 booths that offer you nothing but the best. Delight yourselves in a relaxed stroll through each booth and discover the wide variety of unique gift items, handmade goods, handbags, accessories, baby products, and many more.

Find the perfect gift for everybody and anybody-from babies to oldies, for your friends and family!

Babinski Baby will surely give moms & moms-to-be pure joy with their one-of-a-kind items such as “almost shows”, cute footwear for newborn babies, “babi pillow”, an essential item for new breastfeeding moms, and a lot more!

INDIGOBaby products will surely enhance a mother’s relationship with her newborn with the snugbug belt bags & summer baby pouches!

Personalize your gift and create a special style for your loved one in Make Your Own Flipflops! Vintage inspired and handmade accessories are also available at Julena’s Lockets & Cameos and Sundari.

Spread the love with U&I, known for their cute gift items that are perfect for couples. These items will surely make your loved one feel extra-special during this season!

Men won’t have to worry about not finding anything at this bazaar – Hello Lulu offers stylish laptop sleeves and canvas bags that suit any mood or season. DRU & NJ Sneaks will definitely help men dress up for upcoming special holiday occasions.

Don’t miss this exciting event at the Rockwell Tent. The Urban Bazaar Holiday Series is scheduled on October 24-25, November 28-30 & December 12-14. For more information, please call 8981702 or log on to

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rockwell’s “urban bazaar”

From Rockwell Land comes this announcement about their latest shopping event:

Discover Color at Rockwell’s Urban Bazaar

This rainy season, satisfy that urge to splurge at the Rockwell Urban Bazaar from August 15 to 17 at the Rockwell Tent.

This year’s theme: “Discover Color, Find your Style.” Rockwell’s Urban Bazaar will showcase over 80 participating shops with a unique mix of women’s fashion, men’s line, accessories, beauty, home items and knick-knacks.

Raid the racks with clothes from exciting brands like Be, Cole Vintage, Daphne, Designer Soiree, and V Clothing. Shift from work-wear to weekend wear with Lime, a fabulous line of comfy and lightweight jersey tops and dresses – perfect for the active woman who needs flexible fashion to fit her lifestyle.

Adventurous stylephiles will also enjoy Tammy Tan tops and casual dresses in geometric prints to make a bold fashion statement. Tammy Tan’s playful yet elegant designs are sure to add spice to your closet and will let you stand out from the crowd.

Treat your soles to fashionable footwear from Ichigo , NJ Sneakers, Renegade Folk, and the latest footwear fad, Plueys Manila.

Plueys lets you enjoy stylish Wellington rain boots made from durable natural rubber with sturdy treaded soles and are softly lined for comfort. It’s perfect from dressing up or dressing down.

Guys can also enjoy a wide assortment from the men’s line of Villareal and Munky, as well as tailored shirts and jackets from Navarro. Hip shirts and denims that fit the urban lifestyle can also be bought at Switch Nation.

To make you even more chic and stylish are accessories from Buxani, Fuddy Duddy, Get Happy, Temp Station, BBB, D!luxe Jewelry, Bags in the City, De Roca Bags, Veronica Manila, Gypsy Holiday, and Tonic.

To make your shopping extravaganza complete, indulge your taste buds at the new and exciting food booths outside the tent.

So rush to the Rockwell Tent to splurge and spoil yourself with this year’s Urban Bazaar and get a chance to win raffle prizes and enjoy Samba performances by Escola de Samba de Manila – the first and only Samba school in the Philippines !

For inquiries call 898-1702.   ***

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