I’ve mentioned earlier that the reason I haven’t been updating much is because I’m working on a book project and that’s so true, so much so that last week, I injured my shoulder from too much drawing and photoshopping. HUUU! :(
Last Wednesday, I could hardly raise my right arm but thankfully, I was able to go to therapy and now I’m 80% better. Will be going back late this week and praying it will be 100% better after! Please pray for me! :)
But about the book, I’m so happy because I’m still currently in the process (yey, I’m not giving up!) and as proof, here are two drawings that I’ve done for it. The book’s gonna be about travel and love (of course, what else?) and these two posters will go at a scene in Times Square. What do you think? Still a long way to go but I’m getting there, by God’s grace!
I’m sorry I can’t post any sample pages yet, because I still want it to be a surprise! Hehe! So instead I’ll post as sneak peeks things like backgrounds, props (like these!) and the like!
Do you have any suggestions as to what Broadway posters, Times Square “musts”, should I include in the scene? What famous places do you think should I include in the book?
Life Update: On being MIA & working on my “book”
Hi everyone! Again, I haven’t been updating as much and I apologize for that but I feel that I owe you all an explanation as to why, so here it is!
If you’ve followed me for a while now, you might remember that I occasionally talk about this “book project” (click here to see my latest post about that) See, I’ve always wanted to write and illustrate my own book but over the years, I never got to finishing any of them since I either 1. begin to hate what I’ve already done so far and/or 2. decide that I need a totally new concept. I have four (yes, 4!) unfinished books. So sad, yes. :|
One day, I just got fed up with myself and realized that if I really wanted to make this happen, I had to devote time and effort into it. So I decided to once again work on this project, which hopefully will finally, be worked on to completion! Yes, it’s a new concept again (arrgh haha) but I’m feeling really good about this so hopefully, this will be it, finally!
Another reason why I’m feeling very good about this is because my husband has been encouraging me a lot on it. He’s now acting as my manager; giving me deadlines and tasks (such as to finish 3 pages a week! AAAKK!) and it’s helping me a lot. Discipline is good if you want to achieve things, I realized. :)
So there, that’s what I’ve been doing recently. Mostly drawing when I’m done with my other commitments and wifey duties. Hehe. I know a lot of you are probably not interested about this, but for those that are, I just wanted to give you guys an update.
Now you might be wondering about the photos I posted! Haha! Well, those are some of the Instagram photos I took related to this project. Aside from working on a lot of sketches (hey, donkey!), I’ve been using a lot of my art, comic & graphic novel books as references. My weaknesses are drawing backgrounds and animals so I’m currently practicing a lot. I want to stretch myself for this project! :)
So thanks for reading, thanks for keeping up with me, thanks for the support. Sorry for this long post! I’ll try to blog still, of course, but not as often. And lastly, I really hope that by God’s grace, I’ll be able to finish this book soon so that I can share it with all of you. :)
My Favorite Travel Buddy!
People sometimes ask me who my favorite travel buddy is and without hesitation, of course I say it’s my husband!
With my immense love for traveling the world, I was already expecting (a.k.a. claiming by faith, haha!) that God would give me a husband who shares my enthusiasm. And ta-da, God really did!
Mor loves traveling as much as I do (or almost!), but as ironic as it sounds, traveling brings out so much of our differences too! See, Mor and I travel differently; we like to see different things and we like to experience different places.
He’s more of a beach person. I’m more of a culture/city girl. My next travel wish is to sleep under the stars in the deserts of Mongolia. Mor’s next travel wish is to go on another cruise. I would love to explore places that are off the beaten path (countries like Kazakhstan and even North Korea are on my list) but Mor would shake his head every time I would mention those places.
Mor loves food and would always be on the lookout for the top-rated places and I’m just glad to eat whatever is served on my plate (I really don’t enjoy ordering food! Confuses me! Haha!) I love going to cold places and Mor, well, did I mention he was a beach person?
But despite our differences, there are things about Mor that I’m so thankful for, like the way he’s always game to make wacky poses in photos and the way he’s always game to participate in things (like if someone asks for a volunteer, I will point at him and he would be forced to go up! Haha!) I also love how Mor always wants to try new things and that’s always a good adventure!
One of my good friends pointed out that in a way, Mor and I balance each other out; he keeps me from doing crazy stupid things I will later regret and I help him experience new things. I guess it’s true, if you put it that way!
I really believe that God gave us each other, even though (or precisely because) we are so different, so that we can live life the fullest. Both of us need to adjust and do things that the other would want and this often results to so many fun (and funny!) memories in the end.
And so, I just wanted to write this cheesy post because I’m currently feeling very grateful. I am truly blessed with a wonderful man and that’s all I can say. I don’t deserve anything and it’s all by God’s grace.
I married a man who would take silly photos with me with a camera on timer mode. What more can I ask for? ;)
And because I’m still overly excited about finally having an Instagram account, here’s a post of some of the cute things I Instagramed while I was in Hong Kong just a few days ago!
I got myself a Chinese fashion illustration book because the artworks were gorgeous! It’s such a wonderful reference for poses, angles and of course, clothes. I realized that I need to diversify the clothing of the people in my drawings. They’re always wearing shirts and dresses! Haha.
The upper right and lower left photos come from the same store, Homeless. It’s one of our new finds in Causeway Bay and we took I think an hour just to go through every single one of their items. Mor and I wanted to buy the whole store!!
The last photo is from a Jimmy Liao store also in Causeway Bay. I freaked out so much when I saw it because Jimmy Liao is my favorite writer/illustrator! I would study Chinese again just so I can read his books! Hehe. Definitely going back here next time!
World, meet my new, absolutely adorable, super cutie-patootie-like-a-big-fat-strawberry, pink iPod touch 5th gen! YAAAY!
Reasons why I got an iPod touch:
- My first gen iPod touch barely lasts me an hour
- I didn’t want to spend that much money on an iPhone. I was so shocked when I found out how much an iPhone costs! (Plus, I’m perfectly content with my BB Curve, hehe!)
- I wanted to use Instragram and my first gen iPod doesn’t have a camera :| Haha! (add me at /sheenalovessunsets!)
Mor was so happy I finally got one because I’ve been thinking about buying this since last year. Ugh. I’m the worst shopper. I’m the kind who takes waaay too long before I make a purchase. This took longer because I found out that it’s a lot cheaper in Hong Kong so I waited til’ we visited. Haha! Eep.
And I couldn’t even make up my mind with the colors up to the last minute! I was debating between red, turquoise and pink. I prayed to God and told God to make me like only one color when I go to the store and ta-da, praise God, that’s exactly what happened! So hello, pink!
You might think I’m joking about the Instagram thing but I’m embarassed to admit it’s true! Haha! I super wanted to use Instagram and couldn’t do that with my old iPod so now I’m so excited to use it! I feel like my Instagram will just be full of random cute things! Hee!
So if you like cute things and/or would like to see the mundane things I see and do everyday, add me up at /sheenalovessunsets! :)
Today, let’s take a break from all the drawings and travel posts and talk about something I haven’t written about yet; make-up and beauty products! One of my friends recently asked me about the products I use, so I thought I’d share it with you guys as well here! :)
Here’s a rundown of the items plus the reason why I love them:
- Benetint by Benefit: It’s the longest staying blush tint I’ve ever ever used! Love how it also looks natural! My mom got this for me when the sales lady sales talked her. Haha!
- Wish Pretty Simple Face Powder: I use the Natural shade and it really looks natural on my skin! Love how it also has sunscreen protection! I got it at Watsons.
- Maybelline Colorsensational: I love how all you need is one sweep and it’s already the perfect color; not too light and not too dark! It’s also such a good moisturizer (which I always need because my lips dry fast). I use Bon Bon Pink.
- Pink Chiffon by Bath & Body Works: I LOVE THE SMELL! Used this a lot when I was newly married so whenever I use this now, it reminds me of that time. Aww hehe. Got this at a Bath & Body store in L.A. last year.
- Watsons Moisturizing Lip Balm: Like I said, my lips dry fast so this lip balm is perfect for me! It also smells good and is super handy so I bring it everywhere with me! Got this at Watsons too.
I use a lot of other beauty products like eyeliners, eyeshadows and BB creams but I couldn’t get a decent photo of all the beauty items that I use, so here’s the first batch, I guess! Hehe! Batch Pink! Do you use any of these products too?
Today, my mom would’ve celebrated her 51st birthday.
It still feels surreal saying that she passed away 6 months ago. I still miss her everyday and I keep thinking how it would be so nice to just have her again here with me.
I miss texting her that I’ve just landed whenever I travel without her. I miss calling her up in the middle of the day to tell her about something that only she and I probably cared about. I miss hearing her say “I bought you a dress because you don’t have any new clothes because you’re so kuripot (closest word in English is frugal) and you don’t shop!” :) Hehe!
My mom has always been more like a sister and a best friend. We would share clothes and accessories and I would tell her about everything that happened in school and at work. She also knows all my friends and who their boyfriends/girlfriends are (hehe!)
So many things have changed in the past 6 months. It’s a big change not having a mom. Sometimes I can’t help but feel envious whenever I see daughters with their moms. But then I remember what God did in her life and I really cannot say anything more but “Thank You.”
So, happy birthday, Mom! It’s your first birthday in heaven and I’m sure they’re throwing you a big party. :)
PS. Don’t you just love her panda hat? Hehe! I need to look for that and wear it on our next trip! :p
I am an easy traveller to please.
If you notice in my blog how I describe the places I visit, I almost, if not, always think that every place is either “amazing!” or “gorgeous!” I am an optimistic person in general and I easily forgive (and learn to love) places that aren’t exactly the prettiest or most lovable…
…which is why it pains me to have to say it but, Amsterdam, in the three days I spent in your beautiful city, I have encountered more rudeness, snootiness and all-around unfriendliness than in all of the places I’ve visited in my entire life combined.
At a restaurant, our server kept rolling her eyes and answering rudely as my parents-in-law asked about the items in the menu. When my niece was at Burger King ordering Strawberry Crunch ice cream, the dude snapped “So what kind of ice cream is that? We have lots of ice creams, you need to be specific.” to which we should have answered “You only have one Strawberry Crunch, you…” but we had to restrain ourselves.
Then a car passing by stopped in front of the pedestrian lane when we were about to cross, so we started crossing, but then out of the blue, he decided to go again suddenly so we were almost hit! And he even had the nerve to be angry at us (we can see from his window). Then the passenger at the car behind, seeing everything that had happened, turned to us and made rude gestures. *Sigh*
But my worst experience was at the airport where I came to a lady behind the desk to ask something. First, I tried to call her attention by saying “Excuse Me” but she didn’t move at all, not even to look at me to acknowledge that she heard me, so I thought that she didn’t and I said “Excuse me” again to which she replied in a MOCKING voice “Excuse me, excuse me, can’t you see I’m busy?!” You could have said it nicely.
Granted we met a lot of nice Dutch as well, and don’t get me wrong, I am not generalizing. But I’m sure you would agree that encountering so many rude people in a span of only three days can put you in quite a horrible mood. Some people told me they were probably racist, but of course, we can’t prove this. Racist or not, these people were obviously not the most polite people we have ever met in our lives and what an embarrassment.
I can forgive the bitter cold wind, the crazy bicycles that refuse to stop for pedestrians and even the 2 euro 500mL bottled waters (why so expensive?) But the snooty, impolite, bad-mannered people? It’s another story.
“I thank my God every time I remember you.” (Philippians 1:3)
When I was 18, I had all these ideas of what my future husband will be like but I’m glad God knew better than to listen to me (haha) because my ideas didn’t even come close to the actual husband God gave me and I wouldn’t have it any other way!
God knew what kind of man I needed and what kind of man I could best complement. And I’m glad that I trusted Him. I’ve never met anyone in my life who has truly loved me as much as Mor does, who sticks with me during bad days, who isn’t afraid to be honest with me even when it hurts and who I can trust with all my secret hopes and dreams.
Mor is my best friend, confidante and favorite travel buddy. We enjoy beating each other during games night, watching travel shows together, thinking out loud and just having a simple good time.
I am truly thankful to God every time I think of him.
This drawing is for my crazy husband who’s celebrating his birthday tomorrow! You are the best gift God has given me (after Himself) and I am one lucky girl to have a man like you as my husband. :)
Back from our trip which was mostly a tour around Spain and Portugal. We also stopped at Milan and Amsterdam at the beginning and end of our trip. This was taken at the rooftop of the Duomo Cathedral in Milan. Gorgeous place, despite the drizzle! :)
It’s hard to miss home on the first week of a trip but after three weeks, I’m just so happy to finally be sitting in my chair in front of my laptop again. Haha! Some of the things I particularly missed (aside from family and friends of course!) are:
- My bed and my huge pillows! We had square pillows at one hotel. Ack!
- My relatively spacious CR (compared to hotels’)! And my shower, yay!
- My fresh veggie & fruit juices every morning and afternoon (huu I ate so much unhealthy food during the trip and I feel so bad… and fat)
- Wearing summer dresses! I usually love cold places, but I miss my dresses!
What are the things you miss whenever you’re away on a trip? :)
Adios, mi amigos! ;) Will be goin’ explorin’ (as the drawing says) for a little while. Can you guess to which places based on the black & white flags? First to guess all 4 right gets a virtual hug and flying kiss! Answers when I get back! :*
Don’t worry, I did my assignment and have queued a lot of posts for you guys while I’m away. And to keep the traveling-the-world spirit alive (whatever that is), I queued a lot of drawings translated in Spanish, Portuguese and so many others! Hope you can share it with your Spanish, Portuguese and other foreigner friends!
You can still purchase items from the Sheena Loves Sunsets online store. There will be people who will reply and take care of your orders for you. But all emails and private messages will most likely be answered when I get back (or when I get good wifi there!)
Hasta la vista, darlings. :)
PS. And if you’re thinking of asking “how do you get to travel so much?”, I’ve already made an entry covering that topic. Click here to read it! :)
Because it’s our one year anniversary (!!!) my husband gets a special delivery from a unicorn! YAAAY! But huhu, surprise, surprise; I don’t know how to draw a unicorn! :|
Mor and I have a deal that we don’t give each other gifts during special days (birthday, Christmas, etc.) so we give each other cards and handwritten letters instead. :)
On being a wife and other things…
Time flies and it flies fast! Would you believe that it’s gonna be our first year anniversary already on March 3? Feels like only yesterday when I got engaged and yet, at the same time, so many things have happened and sometimes I think, has it really only been a year?!
Being married is the greatest thing that has ever happened in my life (after of course, accepting Jesus!) but as I am continuously learning everyday, being a wife is not (at all) the easiest thing to become. I have a long way to go from my peg, the Proverbs 31 woman, but by God’s grace, I’m trying to be that kind of girl for God and my husband, one step at a time!
Some people had doubts if getting married at 23 was just an impulsive, young and naive decision on my part but I assure you that by God’s grace, it wasn’t. It is something that Mor and I prayerfully considered and discussed; we sought the blessings and advice of our parents, the wisdom of our spiritual leaders and most of all, we asked God for a clear direction.
I truly believe that if it’s God time, it’s God’s time and though some people may judge you for your decisions, ultimately, it is something between you and God. If God says no but you keep on pushing for it to work, you can expect a lot of heartache. But if God says yes and you obey, expect for His blessings to overflow.
I’m now 24, (turning 25 this July) and I admit I had so much to learn about being a wife at 23 but I’m sure all new wives feel the same, whether they’re 23 or 40. I am in no way encouraging everyone to marry early! I am simply saying that for me, this is what happened and I know that this is where God wants me to be right now, at this season in my life.
And for all you young girls out there wishing to find their one true love already, always remember that instead of worrying about where your prince is or if that boy is THE one, focus instead on becoming the princess that God wants you to become for Him (God) and for him (your future husband). I personally, still have a lot to learn! :)
Travelin’ The Tourist Way
Sometimes, the journey is the destination itself and when we’re talking about camels in Egypt and elephants in India, you know that is 100% correct! Ding ding ding!
People always say “try new things!” but the moment they’re faced with it, they always hesitate and give excuses. Whether those excuses are valid (“looks SO not safe”, and that’s probably true) or not (“it’s too tourist-y”, oh, what, you’re not one?) one thing’s for sure, unless we get out of our comfort zone, we won’t be able to experience life to the fullest! Agree? :)
So despite all those hesitations, whenever I’m faced with opportunities like these, I grab them! So what if it’s too tourist-y? Yes, I’m aware it’s a bit overpriced too but just think of it as supporting the locals trying to make a buck out of their country’s tourism.
I’ve mentioned earlier that when I travel, I try to scrimp on the airfare and hotels so I can spend more on experiences. These experiences won’t ever be perfect; it will be bumpy, hot, cold, smelly, scary and uncomfortable all at the same time (sometimes), but that’s ok. That’s life! Lighten up! :)
Traveling is a chance to be braver than we usually are; to do things we may not necessarily be doing back at home. It’s a chance to experience what other people are doing on the other side of the world, and in the few instances such as riding elephants going up a fort in India, it is a chance to experience life through the eyes of people who have lived in a different time and place.
So next time you travel and you get asked if you wanna try riding a camel, say yes, if you please! If anything, you can now brag to your friends that you’ve done it (and have the pictures to prove it!) ;) Hehe.
“How do you get to travel so much?”
That is a question I keep getting here in my blog. I’ve never answered it straight because I have to admit that the question felt a bit intrusive at first, but now I’m going to finally answer it, in hopes that I can give practical advice!
Hope this helps some of you who included “travel more” in their new year’s resolution! ;)
That simple and that obvious? Yes, did you expect something else? :p
I started earning from illustrating when I was still in high school; making personalized drawings for people and selling items at school bazaars. After I got employed as a full-time graphic artist, I still continued freelancing and decided to grow my online business.
As you could imagine, working three different jobs earn you a lot more than just sticking to one. But make sure you can juggle and give your best on all three!
But the more important bit is saving money for travel. I’m not much of a shopper (which is my mom’s frustration hehe) so instead of spending my money on all those new Forever 21 dresses, I save them for future trips. (Note: I save the money I have left AFTER all my obligations like bills, tithes, etc.)
I also save my “trip fund” only on trips that I really want to make. In other words, I don’t join every single trip my friends invite me to. I always ask myself these questions to gauge whether I need/really want to join a trip:
- Have you been to this place? If yes, why do you wanna go again? (This isn’t a rhetorical question: if I have a good reason to go, I go again!)
- Is this the kind of trip where the company is more important than the place?
- Is this an opportunity of a lifetime or will you still have the chance to do this in the very near future?
Those expiring miles? I use them! Travel Expos? I’m there! I make sure that I maximize whatever I have in order to spend as little as possible in a trip (so I can save up for another one soon!)
When I travel independently (not with a group), I get promo air fares for short-haul flights and take cheap (but clean!!) accommodations. Airfare and hotels take up a bulk of your fund so make sure you pick well. I save my money for experiences instead (snorkeling, sightseeing, etc.)
And lastly, yes, I’m blessed with parents who love to travel and now, with a husband who loves it even more! I cannot put it better without using the Filipino term “sabit”, which is what I am a lot of times! Hehe! My dad wants to go to Vegas? I “sabit” (tag along)! My family wants to go to India? I “sabit”! And I try to “sabit” whenever I can! :p
I’ve really really always loved travel. At 6 years old, I dreamnt of being a flight attendant so that I can get paid to travel the world. When I was 18 and my parents asked if I wanted a debut or an 18th birthday party (common in the Philippines) I asked if we can use that money for a family trip instead.
I realized that, if you really love something, you try to do everything for it and that’s how I am with traveling. Even if it means working double time and even if it means giving up a shorter trip for a longer one in a few months. Whenever I can, I don’t let an opportunity to travel somewhere new pass. But I always try to keep in mind this verse from the Book of James, which I believe is a good motto for all travelers:
“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.” (James 4:14-16)
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Photos taken from a trip with my friends to Vietnam last 2010.
Sheena Sy-Gonzales is a 24-yr old illustrator & designer from Narnia.
Read more about her here.
Ask her a question on Tumblr
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Want your own personalized drawing? This artist is for hire! Click here to find out how!
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
Congratulations to Paula for winning a glam pack c/o Black Beauty & Sheena Loves Sunsets!
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