Major life update: Mor and I are expecting and we cannot be more delighted to share that our little potato is growing at 15 weeks (almost 16!) by God’s amazing grace!
Hello, everyone! The real reason why I’ve been so quiet lately on my blog (and other social media accounts, actually) is because I just finished my first trimester of pregnancy and I wasn’t feeling in tip-top shape during the first few months (PS. Morning sickness is a lie, because you don’t get it only in the morning; it stays throughout the day! Argh!) But now I’m feeling so much better as I enter my 4th month and I’m back to working on my freelance gigs and also my long overdue book (it’s still alive!)
It’s all been so exciting and I’ve been keeping myself busy researching about baby stuff and designing our little nursery (will share photos of my projects when I finish them; Pinterest is my new best friend!) Pregnancy and baby world is so different from what I’m used to but it’s a happy change I welcome in my life!
I’m not sure how you guys feel about seeing pregnancy/baby posts here (haha) but just a heads up, you might see a bit more of those soon now that I’m entering this new stage in my life! :)
Thank you for all the greetings and for all your prayers! Please continue to lift us up, for a safe and healthy pregnancy and of course, a healthy baby! :*
When Jesus was asked what the greatest commandment was, He replied that it was to love God and the second was to love others (see Matthew 22:36-40). It was all about relationships. How do your relationships fare in your life?
I’ve always said that it’s all about balance and priorities. We all have 24 hours in a day and Jesus isn’t asking us to neglect our work (see Proverbs 12:11) but do you fix your schedule to make way for quiet time with God, Sunday worship and Bible studies (things that help you improve your relationship with God)? What about important family celebrations? Do you take time to ask a friend how she is with her struggle or even share to her about Jesus?
I first saw this priorities list at church one time and I’ve always tried to apply it in my life:
My personal time with God comes first. I notice that when I’m not aligned with God, everything else falls apart. Daily quiet time (prayer AND Bible reading) is important and so is Sunday worship (it’s a must!) I make sure I am also accountable to Him by having an accountability partner and attending our fellowship group regularly. This is how I keep myself in touch with God.
Next comes my family: my husband first and then my immediate family. When my husband needs me for something, I make it a point to make sure I give my full attention (admittedly, I have a lot to improve on this part!) Another way I make sure to prioritize my family is to always set Sundays for them: lunch with my family and dinner with my in-laws. Unless I’m sick, I never miss this. And I never intentionally schedule other things on Sundays because Sundays are reserved for church in the morning and the rest of the day with family.
Work comes third because we need to be good stewards of what God has entrusted to us. As a freelance artist and a housewife at the same time, housekeeping falls under this category too. Not giving my best in these areas doesn’t make me a good example of a good Christian wife and this won’t give glory to God at all. But like mentioned earlier, this shouldn’t be our main focus either neglecting everything else that’s more important
Lastly, but definitely not the least is our extra-curricular activities and spending time with other people. Though work is “higher” in the list, this in no way mean that we are to neglect other people’s needs. The key word once again is BALANCE.
Some people are too focused on their work that they no longer have time for ministry and others and this is not according to God’s commands (since we are called to serve others) But if we neglect our work and put our extra-curriculars first, we are not being good reflections of Jesus in the workplace. Remember that the workplace is also part of your ministry.
It’s easy to get caught up in life’s everyday tasks; so many deadlines to finish, so much work to be done, but at the end of the day, don’t lose sight of what is important. If you have 30 mins to spare browsing through your Instagram or Facebook feed, you have 30 mins to spare for quiet time with God. And if this is the 10th time you missed a family dinner because you had to “finish important work” maybe it’s time to reassess your priorities.
Always remember what is truly important; Jesus made sure to remind us about it. Success is never how much money you earn or how high up the corporate ladder you’ve climbed. True success is knowing and keeping those who truly matter in your life.
Don’t take the people in your life for granted. Our time on earth is short, and so is the time of the people we love. Make sure you let them know they are important before it’s too late. :)
The Making of Harry Potter
If you’re familiar with my art from way way back (2006 maybe?), you’ll know that one of my first few digital artworks were Harry Potter fan arts. The magical world of Harry Potter was one of my early inspirations so you can just imagine the kind of goosebumps I got at this freakin’ place!!
(Yes, I purposely wore my best Hogwarts-student look for this day.)
The Warner Bros. Studio Tour, a.k.a. The Making of Harry Potter, in Leavesden (which is around an hour away from central London) is the studio where they filmed a lot of the scenes in the movies.
After the series was completed, they collected most of the sets, costumes and props, displayed them all here and created this interactive tour for the public. If you’re a huge Harry Potter fan, like I am, you’ll understand how big of a deal this is!! And yes, it didn’t disappoint at all; it was SPECTACULAR to say the least!!
Hagrid’s Hut, The Gryffindor Common Room, Umbridge’s (extremely pink) office and The Potions Room, are just some of the sets you’ll get to see with your own two eyes at this place.
The attention to detail is amazing: everything from the bottle labels to the book covers were all wonderfully designed. There were so many knick knacks and little surprises it was so much fun to gawk at everything.
I personally wanted to stare at each set for at least 30 minutes but I was with my husband who isn’t exactly fangirling like I am so I only had a reasonable amount of time :p
By the way, don’t worry, I’m not going to spoil everything for you (in case you’re planning on going there soon) I’m just gonna post enough photos to get you excited! ;)
This is the Graphic Design section and my favorite portion of the entire tour! Look at all the wonderful packaging design. I cry. ;___;
Then there’s a portion called the “Backlot” where you get to go outdoors and see things like No. 4 Privet Drive, The Hogwarts Bridge and the different transportation used throughout the series (see pics below!)
It was pretty cool that they allow guests to walk along the bridge and ride the cars. Plus, I’m glad they have the timeslots going on so there isn’t a huge crowd in any part of the tour which makes it possible for every guest to try everything without having to wait in line for too long.
And we can’t visit the wizarding world without stopping for a drink! YUMMMMY is all I can say! Butterbeer tastes like butterscotch cream soda (don’t worry, it’s non-alcoholic! Hehe!) This was undoubtedly Mor’s favorite part of the tour!
For me, it was a surreal experience walking down the set of Diagon Alley. Ever since I started reading the books, I had always dreamed of walking down this street and now, I actually am!
Now if you’re planning on going there soon, here are some details you might wanna know!
We took the bus + ticket option available for purchase at their official website. I debated for a long time if we should take this or just use the Underground to go to the area but upon reading reviews online, I didn’t want to risk missing our time slot (guests said the studio was strict about this) and we had a 9am schedule so, better to be there early with their official transport service!
We were staying at a hotel in Gloucester Road so we took the tube to Victoria and walked to the meeting place. There are signs and people queuing up, so don’t worry about not being able to find it.
- Expect a LOT of walking and standing up. Wear very comfortable shoes. We didn’t realize how tired we were until we sat down to have lunch (aaaahhhh….)
- Bring extra batteries for your camera! By the end of the tour, I completely drained one of my batteries already and so I only had one left for the rest of the afternoon. But my husband says I was just too excited and took too many pictures (He doesn’t understand! Hehe!)
- If you don’t mind spoilers, research about the different stops inside the tour so you can plan how long you wanna spend in each section. I didn’t do this because I wanted it all to be a surprise, which was also nice, but I wish I read how many stops there were at the very least so that I didn’t rush on some areas!
If you’ve read one of my previous posts, you might remember that we were supposed to go to London last March. However, due to a medical emergency, we had to cancel our plans.
But thanks to nothing else but God’s amazing grace, we were able to rebook everything— yes, everything, even all the supposedly non-rebookable ones! We explained what happened to the airline company (thank you, Philippine Airlines!), the hotel booking site (thank you, Agoda!) plus all the tours (thank you, Anderson Tours!) and transportation we’ve already pre-booked and they all graciously allowed us to rebook our dates! Yup, I’m still in awe at the overwhelming kindness these big companies have shown us.
So to cut the long story short, we were able to fly to London on April and as promised, I’d like to share with you all photos from that wonderful trip! I’m gonna be sharing photos from my Instragram account for now because I still haven’t gotten around to sorting all our 4000+ photos (ack!)
My first time in London was last 2006 and we were only able to stay for around 2-3 days because it was part of a European Tour package. Though I only spent 2-3 days then, it’s been my favorite city ever since and I promised myself that I’ll be back longer next time. Well, I’m a woman of my word and 8 years later, I’m back (now with my husband!) and we gave ourselves 10 days to explore!
Of course, we went around and did all the obligatory touristy things (I can’t ever be too hipster for that) and that includes taking a walking tour around the city, watching the changing of the guards at Buckingham Palace, hanging around Trafalgar Square and taking a day trip to visit one of the most famous structures in the world; The Stonehenge (it was gorgeous by the way!)
One of things I love most about London is how there are so many museums and almost all of them are free! I spent as much time as I could (well, at least before Mor got bored) seeing my favorite favorite paintings, like Fragonard’s The Swing and various pieces by Van Gogh, Vermeer, Monet & Renoir at the National Gallery! Felt surreal to stand in front of a Van Gogh, that’s for sure!
We also took a day trip to Shakespeare’s birthplace; Stratford-Upon-Avon and though it was a horrible rainy day, I still had a wonderful afternoon going inside Anne Hathaway’s cottage (not the actress, but Shakespeare’s wife!)
But of course, we can’t go around exploring London without fueling up and fuel up we did! They say London’s not known for its cuisine (fish and chips, anyone?) but we had a marvelous morning walking around The Borough Market eating cheese, clams and duck confit! We also gobbled up peanut butter malt shakes and burgers at Shake Shack that Mor says are the best he’s ever tasted!
Can’t forget fish and chips and I’m a fan of fried food and fries so I enjoyed it very much! ;)
But probably one of the best things about London (at least for me) is that it’s the home of so many of my beloved shows/movies/fictional characters.
We dropped by 221B Baker Street to pay the world’s most famous detective a visit. We also spent a morning fangirling (or at least, I did) at the Warner Bros. Studio Tour where they have all the props, set and other goodies from all Harry Potter films (I couldn’t resist wearing my blue schoolgirl skirt that day ala a Ravenclaw student!) And we stopped by the Doctor’s Tardis (Doctor Who, you ask?) to see if it really is bigger on the inside (which it is! *wink*) If Highclere castle were only open when we came, I would’ve paid my friends at Downton Abbey a visit, but sadly they were closed. :(
As you see, I had THE BEST time in London! The weather was perfect (rare for London, so thank you God!), the people were exceptionally nice and helpful and I was with the best person to explore it with, my husband!
Once I get all my photos sorted out, I promise I’ll give more details! But for now, suffice to say that London still is my favorite city of all time. How can you not love a city with an efficient transport system (I love you, Underground!), free museums, castles and palaces and so many places where a girl like me can geek out?
For more photos and faster updates, please visit my Instragram account. I’m oftentimes too busy to post anything else but photos and one-liners. Sorry! I try! ;)
PS. On this trip, we also spent 2 full days in Edinburgh, Scotland but yes, that’s a story for another day!
"Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes in the morning." (Psalm 30:5)
Recently, I went through one of the toughest times of my life and it was so easy to drown in negativity. I was feeling lonely, physically tired, disgusting and bored (from staying in bed whole day!) I was not my usual sparkles-and-unicorns self and it was like I was taken over by a spirit of self-pity. I complained and groaned and I seem to have easily forgotten all the beauty of this world.
But I thank God that He never gives up on us even when we feel like giving up on ourselves. Through my husband, God gently reminded me how truly blessed I am. Troubles come as troubles always do, but it’s good to be reminded that they don’t last because Jesus has overcome the world.
So maybe you’re going through something right now. I want you to know that the sadness won’t last forever. There’s always hope if you put your faith in the One who saves.
Hold on tight. The best is yet to come. :)
When things don’t go as planned…
London, England: this is where I should have been yesterday. And if things went according to plan, I should be in Edinburgh, Scotland right about now exploring castles and drinking coffee at the coffee house where JK Rowling wrote the Harry Potter books. But I’m not. Instead, I am at home, stuck in bed as the rest of my friends explore these beautiful cities.
I always say that God’s timing is perfect and I stand by that statement. But sometimes, I have to admit, I don’t understand His timing at all! I was ready to leave on our next adventure: bookings were made, bags were packed and our plans were ready, but I guess, God had a different plan for me. To cut the long dramatic story short, I had a medical emergency and I have to stay home for at least 3 weeks. My husband being the perfect husband that he is (for me, at least!), decided to stay with me. And so we are both here, in Manila, instead of enjoying the beautiful streets of London.
I think I am adopting a new life verse. James 4:13-15 says: “Now listen you who say “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” And it’s true, right? Nothing is sure in this life. Things don’t always go as planned. But I have to trust God that He has the best plans for me. I can plan what I think is best for me, but if it’s not His will, then I should let God take the wheel. I always say let go and let God. It’s not always easy, but I know that this is what’s best.
For these past few days, I have learned so much but I think the most important lesson I had to relearn was to be grateful for what I have instead of mourning about all the things that I have lost. I am blessed with such an amazing husband who has not left my side. He’s been taking care of me 24/7 and I feel like a spoiled princess but he really makes sure I have everything I need. I am blessed with a family who loves me unconditionally and wonderful friends who have shown love in their own ways. I am blessed in so many more ways that I cannot enumerate every single one, but I know that I am most blessed of all because I have a God who cares and He gives me a new hope each morning.
Someone once messaged me here in my blog and said that I seemed to have such a perfect life. I obviously do not. But I am very aware of all the blessings that I have and I do not want to take them for granted. I have resolved to complain less and instead appreciate more, so I try my best not to speak about anything in my life so negatively.
Life doesn’t always turn out the way we plan them to. Life isn’t always rainbows, and I know that. But life CAN always be beautiful. It only depends on how you look at things. I choose to look at what I have and what I have gained rather than my losses. I choose to look up and see the brighter side of things, knowing that though I may not understand what He’s doing right now in my life, I know there is a reason for it all, and I am excited for what God has in store for me. :)
So what happens to our London-Scotland trip? Please pray for us. We are trying to have our plane tickets and other bookings moved. I really pray that we would be able to because I really want to explore London and Edinburgh. And if we push through, I promise to post photos here and on my Instagram! Please pray for us? Hehe.
And thank you to everyone who has wished for me to get well soon on Instagram (ever since IG, I’ve been getting lazier and lazier with blogging haha). Thank you for all your prayers. I am feeling so much better but was told that I still cannot leave the house so, hopefully in a week or so I’ll be up and about! Thank you again! ;)
As mentioned in one of my recent posts, I’m now accepting orders for personalized photobooks. In this post, I give you the details and also the process of ordering your own! Let’s begin with the types of books first!
Currently, I’m offering three kinds of books: Hardcover, Imagewrap and Softcover. The sizes and minimum/maximum number of pages vary depending on the type of book.
The Hardcover Photobook features the cover and all its pages printed on hard, board-like material. It’s the most premium kind; highly recommended for Wedding Photobooks and other special once-in-a-lifetime occassions.
One of its wonderful features is that we can make an entire spread layout without “slicing” the photos that are caught in between. It opens flat (it’s sometimes called “layflat” for that reason) and we can put a photo in the middle and it would still look perfect! ;)
The Imagewrap Photobook features a full-bleed hard cover with its pages printed on premium silk paper. It’s the in-between of a hardcover and a softcover book.
We used this also as our Wedding Guestbook during our special day! But to make it write-able without the ink smudging, I upgraded the pages to matte instead of silk (Yup! we can do that too!)
The Softcover Photobook features a cover printed on matte, dirt-resistant paper and its pages printed on premium silk paper. This is perfect if you want something lightweight and portable (it’s easy to carry and bring!)
The Softcover is my personal favorite when making my own Travel Photobooks. I can make a lot of pages and the book will still end up super light and thin. It’s the best when you want one book per trip and you wanna stack them all up!
When you order a Photobook Package, you’ll get more than just a book with all your pictures slapped in. I will personally be editing each and every photo that will be used in your book. I will also design your cover (and back cover!) and of course, all the pages inside.
I’ll be working on the layout PLUS the captions! So when you give me your photos, I’d be asking also for your itinerary (if you have any) and I’ll be doing my own research to make sure I give accurate captions!
And as mentioned in the photo, each photobook package includes a CD of all the edited photos, for free. :)
When you’re ready to inquire, just send an email over at email@example.com and we can discuss all the other details. Excited to hear all your different stories and work with you guys!
LIFE UPDATE + NEWS!
Here I am, back after a month of being a bad blogger (once again!) With so many things happening all at once, I’ve only found time to update my Instagram! (Heehee, let’s be friends there!)
So I’m super sorry to all those waiting for new blog posts. I’ll work on them real soon, but just so you guys know I’m not making all this “being busy stuff” up, let me share with you guys some of the new things I’ve been up to!! :)
THE YELLOW SPACEMAN DESIGN STUDIO
Aside from being an illustrator, some of you might know that I also work as a freelance designer. My brother (who also works in the creative industry!) and I decided to team up and start our own design studio and thus, Yellow Spaceman was born!
I would love it if you could check out our website! And if all the space puns get to you, I apologize, it’s entirely my fault! Haha! :p Call us for all your design needs!
PERSONALIZED PHOTOBOOK SERVICES
I’ve made quite a lot of photobooks already but mainly for my personal use only, to organize my travel photos. Once in a while though, someone inquires about it after coming across some of my photobook blog posts. I accept orders for photobook layouts but I’ve never officially offered it so consider this my official announcement. Haha.
I’m now accepting photobook orders! Yay! If you’ve always wanted to have a photobook but have no patience in sorting out the photos, let me do that for you! I’ll sort, edit your photos (!!), put text and work on the layout! I’ll even give you a copy of all the edited photos for FREE!
For serious inquiries, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org!
By God’s grace, I have not yet given up on my book (see previous posts for more details!) Won’t post any new teaser pics for now (this one’s taken from my Instagram haha) but, again by God’s grace, I am half way through it already! Please pray with me! Heehee!
It’s gonna be a combination of all the things I love and so I hope you’ll love it too!
SPARK: ALL-DAY CAMP FOR GIRLS!
And lastly, my friends and I are organizing an all-day camp this March 8 called SPARK! Let’s have a bonding session as we talk about beauty, fashion, family and love (!!)
We’re still ironing out all the details but I’ll be posting our official poster soon. It’s only gonna be 500 pesos inclusive of lunch, snacks and other freebies!! Sheena Loves Sunsets freebies and more! You’ll have lots of fun, I promise! We’ll post registration details soon!
YOU ARE ALL INVITED and I would love to meet all of you! Will I see you there? :)
May your Christmas be full of hugs and laughter, of good food and good company, of wonderful memories and hopeful dreams.
But most of all, may the most important person be the center of all your celebration: Jesus Christ.
Have a blessed Christmas everyone!
Just a few more days til’ Christmas Day!
It’s so easy to get caught up in all the holiday hoopla but may we always remember the reason for this season and that’s the birth of our one and only wonderful Savior, Jesus Christ!
Have a blessed Christmas season, from my family to yours!
So yesterday I gave a talk for the very talented students of UST and it was fun! I was so nervous (always been shy about public speaking) but thank you guys for laughing at my punch lines; you’re all very kind! Haha.
The talk was about "Knowing Your Passion" so I tried to share stories of how I found mine! Also shared some tips and advice which I found helpful along the way! Hope you guys learned something! :)
Special shout out to Karen for inviting me, convincing me and for being super! :) Hope to see you again soon!! And hello everyone who said hello to me! Thank you for the support and I hope to see you guys again someday!
This Saturday, I’ll be speaking at UST about Knowing Your Passion! I might be giving away some Sheena Loves Sunsets stuff! ;)
If you know me, you’ll know that I absolutely dislike public speaking, which is why I don’t accept a lot of invitations for talks like this one (I almost backed out of this too haha!) but maybe it’s time to conquer my fear!
If you have suggestions on what you’d like me to discuss, just leave a comment below! The event is free and open for all! Will I see you there? :)
"Many are the plans in a person’s heart but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails." (Proverbs 19:21)
We make all sorts of plans all the time: where we wanna study, what course we wanna take up, where we wanna settle down (Manila or Singapore, maybe?) but do we ask God what His plans are for our lives?
Never forget to pray before proceeding. Make God the center of everything and He will take care of you, 100% guaranteed! :)
(This artwork is a personalized commission made for Clarence for her friend. This is part of a two-piece travel themed set!)
Online store is under maintenance, but you can still order!
We’re super sorry for the inconvenience but our store is temporarily down!
If you would like to make some orders or inquiries though, please send an email at email@example.com and we’ll be more than happy to guide you with the process.
Here is a list of all products available for sale:
Regular notebooks are available in both lined and plain unless stated otherwise. Size is 8x6 inches. 50 leaves.
Mini notebooks are available only in plain. Size is 6x4 inches. 50 leaves.
It’s free shipping if you reach 500 php on your total anywhere in the Philippines. We also ship internationally!
Again, please send an email at firstname.lastname@example.org to order!
We’re so sorry for this but rest assured, we’re working on it double time!
Sheena Sy-Gonzales is an illustrator & designer from Narnia.
Read more about her here.
Ask her a question on Tumblr
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How do you get to travel so much?
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On Being a Wife & Other Things
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Our Love Story in a Cartoon
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Staying Happy, Not Idle & Bored
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Advice to My 18-year Old Self
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