Favourite: Uni Shift Pipelock Drafting Pencil

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Isn’t the photo above just beautiful? This mechanical pencil is one of my very favourites and one of the reason being that it is just gorgeous!

The one I have is the 0.5mm black body with smoke accent. I originally had a white body one but it got stolen so I got a new one. Even though this pencil is a bit on the pricey side, it is completely worth it in my opinion if you’re looking for a good pencil that you can use daily.

I’m no artist or design student but I do find myself writing quite a bit and comfort+function is always on the top of my list. The weight of the pencil is focused more on the bottom which makes writing very easy on the hands. I also love love love the metal grip because it adds so much weight to the pencil and just makes it feel more expensive. The shift pipe lock is a plus for me but not really a necessity since I tend to forget to lock it when I’m done using it.

I got my first one from StationeryArt but literally everything and anything good on that website is sold out and it feels like they never come back in stock lol. I got this black one from amazon.

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Review: Uni Propus Window Highlighters

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Today, we have the Uni Propus Window highlighters for review! I got these highlighters sometime ago because I read some great reviews on them. Now that I’ve used them for a good amount of time, I’ve got a pretty good idea of how I feel about them. I got mine for what I would say a decent price on amazon.


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^I really don’t know why I didn’t just take a picture of the whole highlighter lol

First off, I got the soft color double-sided ones. The cute pastel colour scheme is what made me want them in the first place. On one side is a broad 4.0mm tip and on the other side is a 0.6 mm fine tip. This proves to be very useful if you want to highlight slightly smaller than usual writing or if you just want to underline something.

The ink flow is very consistent and there is no bleeding on the paper I use (24lbs). If you’re only using them to highlight textbooks or printed text, there is no problem with smudging and such. They do, however, smudge quite a bit when used on gel ink pens. Personally, I like to highlight my own notes and my go to pens for notes are mostly gel ink ones. As a result, I haven’t been able to use these to highlight my own notes because they actually smudge a lot. I did find that they don’t smudge on the Le Pen from Marvy or any of my ball point pens.

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Pros

  • Double sided tip
  • No bleed through
  • Consistent flow
  • Has a little window for you to see where you’re highlighting
  • Super pretty colours

Cons

  • Will smudge with certain types of pens

All in all, I really like these highlighters but since they smudge on my notes, I’ll probably have to just save these for other occasions. If you know any highlighters with this type of colour scheme that doesn’t smudge on gel ink, then please suggest them to me! I’m thinking of trying the Zebra Midliners next 🙂

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Exam Prep II: My Studying Routine

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This is part two of my exam prep post. Check out part one here! Anyways, this is my official studying routine. It may seem tedious to some but after years of studying, I found that this routine is my favourite since it almost always guarantees me good grades. But just remember, in the end it’s really about finding something that works for yourself!


My Exam Studying Routine

As of now, all my courses have a textbook of some sort and Powerpoint slides that the professor provides. As the course progresses, I will take notes for each chapter of the textbook that is on the syllabus. I will also take notes on the Powerpoint and lectures showed in class. Typically, I have a designated notebook for each course.

Before I start studying for an exam, I like to go through every possible link that the professors tell us to check out and bookmark them into a folder specifically for the course. I then download all the practice exams and answers (if available) into a folder on my laptop that is also specifically for the course so I can access them easily later. I also make flashcards with condensed notes on the learning goals. Now that I have all my study materials with easy reach, the official studying begins.

My main studying method is reading, thinking, and reenacting. For each piece of study material, I read a chunk of text, think about it in my head and then recite it out loud in a way as if I had to teach someone who had no clue about any of the material. I find this really effective because I’m not just reading the text but absorbing it and teaching it, which forces me to really understand it. Speaking out loud really helps as well since you’re hearing the material and using more senses to study. Because I need to talk out loud, I often study at home on the day before my exam.

Now, I know reading is definitely not for everyone since textbook reading can take a long time and its so easy for what you’re reading to just fly over your head, but my routine works well for me because I’m more of a self-learner.

As you will see in my to-do list below, my routine is basically a list. If I’m really feeling rushed I will make a timed schedule that gives me more pressure to study more efficiently.

1. I read the textbook fully and carefully

Reading the textbook is an absolute must for me because this is where I get the most detailed information and builds a strong foundation of knowledge.

2. I read lecture notes or Powerpoint slides that are from in class.

Typically, tests will focus more on the material the professor goes over in class.

3. I go over any videos, animations, or other links that my professor has recommended.

After all that reading, it’s very helpful to watch some videos or do some interactive animations that give you a visual idea of the material.

4. I do practice exams.

It’s effective to do practice questions only after you’ve covered all the material because then you can see what areas you’re lacking in.

5. I go over my own written notes. 

My written notes are from the textbook but are shorter and more condensed. I go over these as an added reinforcement.

6. I go over any sections that I had trouble on.

As I read the material, I like to note words I don’t know or sections that I feel like I forget very easily. This is when I go over all the sections I had trouble with before and get a better understanding.

7. I go over my flashcards.

As the very very last step, I will go over my flashcards just to tie everything together.


As you can see above, I treat studying kind of like a show. There is the beginning which is me reading the material, the middle where I’m doing practice questions, and the end where I wrap up all the loose ends and end off with a bang! Basically, I’m just trying to make studying seem way more fun than it actually is. A girl can try, no?

Exam Prep I: My Studying Tips & Tools

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Since I’m currently taking summer courses, I’ve had two midterms in the last month. I’m only taking one course so the load is pretty light but exams still require a great amount of study time. I find that I have a specific routine when it comes to studying that pretty much applies to all the courses I take so I thought I’d share that with you. This time, I’ll be sharing some of my favourite studying tips and tools. Hopefully you can find some new and helpful tips in this post!


Study Space

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My desk is often very messy but It definitely does feel better to study in an organized environment. Having a clutter-free desk makes my mind feel clutter-free as well. It also helps that I can find all the materials I need without having to dig through the piles of stuff on my desk. A nice bright atmosphere is also very important. Other than a room light, it’s also very important to have a bright lamp. Sometimes when I study into the night I like to close my room lights and just have my one lamp open. It makes me feel focused somehow that all the light is focused on my desk.


Food

I need need need to have food around me when I study because I use snacks as short study breaks. I like to bring a basket of snacks (ie. cookies, granola bars, fruits) and put them away from my desk so I can get in a little big of stretching in between. Also because my table is quite small 😛


To-do Lists

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I always make to-do lists on what chapters I need to read and what not. It’s never good to be wondering what to study next because your mind tends to wander. Having a schedule helps you continue studying for a longer period of time because you can immediately start on the next task after you’ve finished your current one. Staying organized always helps!


Flash Cards & Sticky Notes

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These are probably a no brainer but flash cards and sticky notes are a must! I used to never use flash cards because I hated writing more than I needed to but now I pretty much can’t life without them. I like to print out my learning goals for each test, number them, and then make flashcards with notes corresponding to each goal. I make these to highlight the more important material and also as a last-minute easy and fast way to study. As for sticky notes, I use them to write down definitions for vocabulary that I might have missed in my own notes. The notebook I’m using now (from Artbox) has a space on the side where I can write short brief notes. There is where I often put my sticky notes on.

The sticky notes above are neon ones from Daiso and they are my favourite. Since they are slightly translucent, I love using the thin ones to highlight in the textbooks that I want to resell one day. As for the flashcards, I think I got them at my university bookstore but they just have these coloured edges which are great for organizing into chapters/units.

Prior to an exam, I also mark in my notebook which page is what chapter which just makes for easy navigation once you get farther along into the course.


Trays

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I bought this leather catch-all tray from eBay and I take it with me whenever I go out to study. At home I like to set it up on my desk and put in all my tools for studying like my writing instruments, flashcards, and sticky notes. I think this is really great because you can easily find all the stuff you need in one place.


Hopefully these tips weren’t too run of the mill and actually helped you of some sort!

MosseryCo Notebooks

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A couple of months ago I made a purchase from an Etsy shop called MosseryCo. They sell notebooks with very cute designs! I was watching a video from HappieScrappie when she pulled out her MosseryCo notebooks and I fell in love with the designs. So I went and ordered a notepad and three more pocket notebooks. I still haven’t found a use for the pocket notebooks but I’ve already used the notepad so I thought I’d share this store with you. They have a good deal where you can choose any three pocket notebooks and get free shipping. I chose that because I hate having to pay for expensive shipping and most of the Etsy shops charge a lot for shipping to Canada. It’s a sad life sometimes.

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The pocket notebooks are not ruled so you can use it as a sketchbook or anything you want! The quality of the paper is very high quality and thick which is always a plus in my book. These pocket books are about the same size as the Moleskine pocket notebooks but a little bit narrower.

If you’re part of the Kate Spade Planners Club on Facebook, I’m sure you’ve heard of Katedoris. To make one, you basically take a Kate Spade passport holder and put notebooks in them like you would a Midori traveler’s notebook. I’ve seen several pictures of them and they are very cute. I would make one for myself but I haven’t gotten into the traveler’s notebook game yet. Anyhow, I know these notebooks will fit into a Katedori so if you were on the lookout then here ya go! Beware though because some old Kate Spade passport holders have smaller dimensions that won’t fit. These notebooks are approximately 8.8x14cm so be sure to measure before you purchase!

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That is all! I just wanted to share these super cute notebooks with you! I want to add that the pug design is by far my favourite ❤

Planner Setup 2015

Hi 🙂

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I wanted to show you guys my planner setup for 2015. Above is my planner. I got it in Florence when I was travelling in Italy. I’m not sure of the exact name of the planner but I purchased it in a very nice store called Pineider. They had a variety of products but their main focus was on leather. I chose this grey and yellow open style planner because I loved how the colours complimented each other. This planner was originally 300 euros but it was 85% off and I purchased it for only 45 euros! For such a high quality planner, you can imagine how happy I was to snag it for such a good price. I asked the sales person why it was discounted so much and they said that it was due to low demand since most people nowadays use electronic devices for management and planning. Anyhow, I was super thankful and bought it without a second thought. I’ve seen quite a few people in the Facebook clubs order planners from Pineider’s online store as well. I know they ship worldwide so you can click here to go to their website if you’re interested!

20150521_013108Anyways, here is the inside of my planner when you flip it open. I’m using the dashboard it came with but I put it in a protective sleeve since I don’t have a laminator. There’s only one little pocket in the front which I don’t use and a sleeve where I keep some sticker sheets. I change my planner pens all the time but right now I’m using this light periwinkle coloured Le Pen from Marvy.

20150521_013130After flipping the dashboard I keep my date pages. I prefer undated inserts and I’m not really sure why. I forgot where I found these inserts but I like them very much because of how simple and cute they are. BTW I just used a random monthly page to take a picture if you’re wondering why I’m flipped to the month of November.

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Next are my weekly inserts that I purchased from Cocoa Daisy. Again, I’m using undated ones just because. I do like the grid paper for writing on but I’m probably going to find new inserts to use next year. I think these inserts are very nice but I would prefer a simpler insert with no preset colour scheme so that I can decorate it to whatever colours I want. For each week, I like to write out what classes I have, what homework I need to do, and what shows I need to watch. All those names you see with numbers next to them are current Asian dramas that I’m keeping up with. Lets just say I watch a lot of Asian dramas and I sometimes prioritize them before homework (shhhhh!).

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Next is my first divided section. In this ‘productivity’ section, I have inserts for the following:

  • To do list
  • To buy list
  • Wishlist
  • Parcels to expect
  • Gift ideas
  • Expenses

As you can see I have a lot of lists. I love lists. Lists are pretty much my life.

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The second divided section is what I call my ‘entertainment’ section. I have inserts for the following:

  • Dramalist (can you tell I’m obsessed with dramas yet?)
  • To watch list
  • To read list
  • blog post ideas

Yes, these are all lists again. I get a lot of satisfaction from recording everything I want to do and then checking it off. I’m sure many of you guys will understand (I hope). Also, my memory is quite bad so if I see a trailer for an interesting movie or something I’ll write it down or else I’ll forget it and miss out.

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The last section is my school section. I have these course info inserts that I find very useful. During the school year if I need to email the prof or get extra help then I’ll flip to here and find their emails and office hours. Other than these sheets, I also dedicate a single note page to record important stuff from the syllabus.

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And that’s pretty much it for my planner! This is my one and only planner so far and I currently don’t feel the need for another one (reason: no money). All the inserts you see other than my monthly and weekly pages are all made by me. They aren’t anything special. Just a couple of simple inserts I made in Microsoft Word. I don’t really decorate excessively because (1) I like to keep my planner simple and (2) I don’t trust my eye for design (this is the real reason, (1) was just a lie). I use my planner basically to keep track of my life because I like to stay organized and on top of things.

Cult Pens Haul + Review

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Believe it or not it’s quite hard to find online stationery stores that ship to Canada for a reasonable price. There has been so many times where I’ve put $10 worth of items in my cart and the shipping would come out to be $20. StationeryArt is quite good but pretty much everything I want is out of stock all the time. So this time, I decided to try out Cult Pens as an alternative to Stationery Art and JetPens. They have a nice selection but not as extensive as JetPens and some things are overpriced by almost 200% when you take into account currency conversion. Anyhow, I decided to splurge and order some pens that had been on my wishlist for ages.

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The first two things I got were Kuretake Zig CocoIro Letter Pen Bodies. I got the colours kiwi and strawberry. Since these were only the pen bodies, I also got two of the Letter Pen refills in black and mint green. I know it’s a little bit weird that I didn’t get a blue pen body to match the mint green ink but the kiwi was just so eye-catching I had to get it. As you can see the refill is sticking out of the pen body. I found that kind of weird at first but it doesn’t bother me at all really. The tip is hard but soft and flexible at the same time. As described on the website, you can’t write too fast with these pens because the ink flow can’t keep up.20150521_154417

20150521_154604All in all I find these pens aesthetically pleasing and nice to write with at the same time. I wouldn’t use them for note taking in class though since they kind of lag in the ink department. I’ll probably be using these pens to write cards or draw simple diagrams. And I’ll definitely be purchasing more pen barrels because they have a lot more cute colours!

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Ahem, excuse my bad handwriting. I’ve been wanting to try a fountain pen with a wider nib for some time now. I love my Lamy Safari fountain pen so I thought I’d try out the Lamy Joy Fountain Pen. Isn’t this pen just so beautiful? I love the bold red colour in contrast with the black barrel. Now, I’m no calligraphist but the wider nib just makes my writing look a lot fancier than it is, which I enjoy very much. Personally, I think this pen would make a great gift because of how stylish it looks and its quality.

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Lastly, I got the Pentel Brush Pen (sorry I forgot to take an individual picture but you can see it in the first picture above). It came with 4 cartridges of ink which was a bit of a surprise since I didn’t read the item details before ordering. I saw Kristina from K Werner Design use this in one of her youtube videos and I loved how it wrote. I honestly don’t know how she can write so prettily with this pen because I just fail at using this pen (as you can see). It certainly will take a long time to get used to so I don’t have anything to say about it quite yet.

I ordered all of these pens from Cult Pens and I have to say the service was really good. I didn’t have any problems with the order and they came quite fast (exactly one week!) even though I live overseas.

Introduction + Favourite Pens!

Hi there!

Welcome to my blog, which will mainly be about stationery, planning, and my life in university. I do have a variety of other interests so I guess you could call this a lifestyle blog 🙂

My name is Aly and I’m from Vancouver, Canada. I’m currently studying computer science at UBC and I’m going into my second year this September. My hobbies include reading, watching drama, and trying to get better at painting (it’s taking forever haha). I recently dived into the world of planners and am finding myself becoming more and more obsessed. Aside from stationery posts, you will probably see a lot of posts on planning and maybe some book reviews.

Since I’m such a huge stationery addict, I thought it’d be fun to share some of my favourite pens as a first post. Here goes!

When I was younger all I wanted were pretty looking pens and pencils. Any pen that was pink or had a charm dangling from it had to be instantly mine. As I got older, I realized that quality mattered a little bit more than appearance (just a little!) I started to become interested in stationery and searching for great pens and pencils for my notes since I had to take soooo many notes  for school.

I prefer to take notes by hand because I simply enjoy making nice, neat, and pretty notes. This year I have been investing more money on notebooks with good quality paper because it really irks me when pen ink even shows through the paper let alone bleed through. A pen that I like to use on all types of paper is the MUJI Smooth Writing Gel Ink Pen. I actually just finished one of these pens 2 days ago so it goes to show how much I love it. It writes just like its name—super smooth and rarely shows through on the other side.

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Another one of my favourites for note taking would be the Pilot Hi-Tecpoint V5 Rolling Ball Pens. I have them in black, purple, and turquoise. I love using this colour combination to take notes! The ink flow is nice and consistent and I love how you can see how much ink you have left so you know when to stock up.

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I typically don’t use ball-point pens because I hate the cracks in the writing that the majority of them give me. However, I came across this pen just a few months ago at a local stationery store and fell in love with it. It’s the Faber Castell Ballpoint Pen N’ice Pen in Lime (one of my favourite colours!). Writing with this pen feels like writing on wax paper all the time. There are a few cracks occasionally but it writes so smooth that I’ve just had to learn to deal with it. This is a good quality Faber Castell pen with a price that isn’t insanely steep so I’d definitely recommend trying this pen out!

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And that concludes my first post!