I really did try making these cyanotype prints for fun. But then I remembered I signed up for our library’s Tiny Art Show. I decided to incorporate the vintage music and negatives print into my piece. I’ve been thinking about nostalgia a lot lately–a mix of watching Stranger Things and visiting my hometown and just existing in today’s cruel world…
Anywayyyyyyy…I have had this quote by George W. Ball in my journal for a long time, “Nostalgia is a seductive liar, evoking bowdlerized pictures of times past with all the shadows painted out.” So I distilled the point down to a few words and typed them out and added a shiny vintage Dennison star.
Last Sunday, I met some friends and we went to check out the Tiny Art Show together. (We found Naoto there!) It was such a great variety of styles! Most people painted, but there were a couple who (like me) chose to go another route. I’m sharing some of my favorites:
Now my piece is back home on its little easel and I think I am going to display it with my other library art which just happens to match!
For my birthday earlier this year, Naoto gave me a new leather cover for my Hobonichi. It’s a deep, dark blue with a natural interior and a brass zipper. When I say this is the nicest thing I own, I am not lying.
He got it from Baum Kuchen, one of my favorite shops for just quality, gorgeous “artifacts,” which is what they call the items in their collection. The planner cover is made by Superior Labor, a Japanese lifestyle brand. I have a couple of other things made by them that I got at the Travelers Notebook store in Japan, and their handmade attention to detail just cannot be topped. They are true artisans.
In the front pocket, I keep a little variety of pictures and cards that I just like to have around—good memories, quotes to remember, a letterpress postcard of a typewriter.
This is the first cover that I’ve had for a Hobonichi where you don’t tuck the front page of the planner into the cover. I kind of like that there’s more of the Hobonichi exposed and more surface area for my sticker collection! I’ve been adding some of my favorite stickers to the front that just feel very 2022 to me.
Here are the other stickers that I started the year with when I was using my plain Hobonichi cover. I’ve always been someone who gets anxious about using stickers, but for some reason, sticking them in my planner is so easy for me! (If you are curious about any of the stickers, let me know and I’ll share a source if I have one!)
I’m still decorating my monthly and weekly pages with stickers and washi tape. Every Sunday, I work on my upcoming weekly pages and towards the end of the month, I work on the upcoming month. It’s just a nice, relaxing, (somewhat) mindless activity. Since the pandemic, I’ve found myself really needing to make sure I have downtime/alone time carved out in my schedule. (I guess you could say that my re-introduction back to regular life has been slow!) Spending some time each week with my calendar and looking ahead to commitments helps me to schedule for my introvert needs.
Yet again I have failed to use all of the pages Hobonichi offers to me, but I do keep track of the books I’ve read in the blank pages at the back of the planner. (I’m so behind on my reading this year! I was doing so well in the beginning and then I fell off the wagon!) Someday, I’ll document all of the TV I watch during the year—just to see exactly how many times I watch The Office if nothing else!
In the back pocket, I keep this hilarious vintage Instagram of me and Pres, along with my Historical Society of Forest Park business cards, some little inspirational cards, a pen, some stickers, and some postage stamps.
I am so thankful that Naoto pays attention to what’s important to me! I love that something I use every day is encased in such a special cover. It just feels like a treat to use my calendar every day!
Did you know Saturday was the very first Stationery Store Day? (Is Stationery Store Day a totally made up holiday? Yes. But so was Book Store Day and Record Store Day, so, why can’t paper sellers and fans have a day, too?)
When I saw that A. Favorite Design was a participating shop, I decided this was my chance to finally get up to the north side to see the shop. I’ve purchased things from them each year at Show of Hands, but I’ve never been to their shop.
In a total blogging fail, I didn’t take any pictures inside the shop. I haven’t been stationery shopping in so long–since we went to Japan in 2020! I was relishing every moment! Most of their offerings are their own letterpress designs, but they have a fun selection of vintage postcards, stationery, and wrapping paper, and they have other paper and desk offerings as well.
As you can see, I found plenty of treasures! I picked out some vintage advertising stationery (which I can’t wait to feed into my typewriter for a letter soon), some letterpress “Dennison label” cards, “Dennison Label” paper tape, vintage Chicago postcards, mail stickers, my new favorite pens, some greeting cards, a vintage ephemera and office supply letter set, a “Down the hatch” sticker, and (underneath it all) a sheet of vintage vegetable wrapping paper.
And, the picture at the top shows the Stationery Store Day freebies–a letterpress print I pulled myself, a Stationery Store Day bag and postcard, and a A. Favorite Design birthday card. (How great is that Etch A Sketch?!)
Before we went shopping, we stopped at Spinning J’s for brunch and pie.
I had a BLT, a strawberry rhubarb phosphate, and the key lime hibiscus pie with blueberry compote. (This is the meal I would recommend to anyone trying Spinning J’s for the first time, though their tuna melt is also excellent. Really…you just can’t go wrong with their menu!)
I brought out my letter purse that Naoto gave me last winter. It was the perfect accessory for the occasion! And, you can pencil in the next Stationery Store Day–August 5, 2023!
It almost makes up for the rabbit-eaten edamame buffet. (Almost!) These are Japanese cucumbers and they’re very tasty. So far we have eaten them in salads and hiyachuka.
We also have several tiny melons. I’m not a huge melon fan, but I’m hoping these will change my mind.
And at this point, we have a steady stream of cherry tomatoes coming in, with a few big tomatoes ripening now and then too. The tomato plants are full, so…it’s just a matter of time before it’s all caprese, BLTs, and tomato sandwiches allll the time!
It was an essay written by Chicago Tribune columnist Mary Schmich in 1997 that was turned into the spoken word song. And, fun fact, Mary Schmich spoke at my college graduation, where she read her essay, I think, for the first time to a graduating class.
I do have one more (non-Japanese) sunscreen I’ve been using this summer! It’s the Trader Joe’s Daily Facial Sunscreen that came out this summer. It’s $8.99 and is supposed to be a dupe for the Supergoop Unseen Sunscreen, which is $36. This one is less watery than the Japanese sunscreens I love, but it is an oil-free gel and leaves behind a velvety primer that is a good base for makeup. It is water resistant up to forty minutes and is SPF 40. I probably pull this one out of the cabinet once a week or so. Definitely not as much as my Japanese ones, but it’s good for work days where I’m outside less and I’m wearing more makeup. (The sunscreen blew up on TikTok, so I think it’s currently out of stock at most stores, but hopefully it comes back soon!)
My next hunt is for a good body sunscreen. We’re using some store brand stuff right now and it’s fine, but I’d be grateful to hear about any you love!
For the past few years, I’ve been trying to take my facial sunscreen more seriously. Usually, I would just slather on whatever body sunscreen we had on hand, along with a hat and called it a day. I was miserable the whole time because it was always thick and heavy and sticky. Finally, this is the first year I really started exploring Japanese sunscreens. Most really nice facial sunscreens at Ulta and Sephora are so expensive, like $30+ a tube, so I was pleasantly surprised to find that two out of three of my Japanese favorites are under $15!
The first one I tried was the Biore Aqua Rich. It was a game changer for me! I have oily skin, especially in the summer and all of the American sunscreens I have tried always left me feeling sticky and greasy. This one literally feels like water on the skin and it plays under makeup well. It contains royal jelly extract and hyaluronic acid to maintain the moisture in the skin without weighing it down. It is waterproof for eighty minutes and has no white cast.*
Next I tried the Nivea Super Water Gel because it seemed very similar to the Biore. I figured it would be nice to have a back-up option in case the Biore was ever out of stock. The Nivea is also SPF 50 and absorbs really nicely without any weight. It also has hyaluronic acid. The big difference between the two is that the Nivea is not waterproof.*
The Shiseido sunscreen stick is more of a splurge at $29, but I mostly use it for reapplication on days I’m outside a lot, so to me, it’s worth it. I am not going to claim the stick is perfect over makeup. If you press too hard or wipe too much, some of your makeup may rub off, especially if you don’t use a setting spray to set your makeup. But I feel like a little makeup lost is better than using an SPF spray or powder (the other two popular versions of sunscreen for reapplying throughout the day) and not having complete coverage. The Shiseido stick is definitely a little heavier than the Biore or Nivea, but it doesn’t feel greasy or leave a lot of shine. It’s waterproof for eighty minutes and reef-friendly (which the other two don’t mention.) The stick is so convenient–I carry it in my pencil case so I always have sunscreen with me.
I recently read this article in The Atlantic that explains why American sunscreens lag so far behind their Asian and European counterparts. (Spoiler alert–the FDA is holding things up!) I definitely suggest testing Korean and Japanese brands if you’re having trouble finding a good sunscreen for your face, because like many things…Japan Does It Better!
*Thanks to Naoto for translating the Japanese packaging.