I need perfection, some twisted selection


One of the best things about having a blog is that you get to meet and interact with people who share your interests. A few posts ago, I talked about how much I liked Real Simple mag. And then a friend of mine — working mom Candiceposted a note saying that, surprise, there’s a Real Simple online newsletter.1 I’m glad she told me because now it’s the only newsletter I look forward to receiving every week. It’s chockfull of clever and aha! tips with titles like: “Decorate on the Cheap with Everyday Items” (ex: Use binder clips to display photos), “Learn How to Say No2, “16 Quick Ways to Take Control of Your Life” (ex: Itemize your possesions), and “27 Clever Cleaning Tips” (ex: Store cleaning products in a see-through shoe holder). If you want to simplify your life, go ahead, do yourself a favor and subscribe.

By the way, I think I’ve gained some three years worth of stay-at-home-wifedom cred to list down a few household tips myself. Let me share them with you:

1. Baking soda is your friend. Use it to unclog drains (sprinkle some on the drain before pouring boiling water through it), freshen up kitchen counters (sprinkle some on the counter, pour some vinegar or squeeze a few pieces of calamansi on the powder — it will fizz — then wipe it off), or remove unpleasant smells in your ref (keep an open container of it inside your ref).
2. Rub off the nasty black stains on the bottoms of your pots and pans with vinegar.
3. Keep a little basket or tray containing everything you’ll need when you go out. Ours holds our house keys, car keys, wedding rings, cellphones, and a wallet with “emergency money”. We bring it to the bedroom with us when we sleep, and we bring it downstairs every morning when we open the doors. We’ve made it a habit to put the abovementioned items in it everytime we go home.
4. Make duplicates of all your keys and label each one carefully. Entrust the duplicates, or at least the ones that open the main doors) to a trusted family member or friend who doesn’t live in the same house.
5. Make it a habit to switch off the gas before turning off the stove.
6. Have scissors, even the kid-size ones will do, available in every room. Trust me.
7. Put all loose change on a bowl on your kitchen counter. Pretty soon you’ll end up with a big pile that you can use for miscellaneous expenses like parking, tips for your cleaning lady and drinking water delivery guy.
8. Enroll your bank accounts in an online facility, if possible. (I’m not sure about the other banks but I know BPI and Citibank accounts can be managed online). My fabulous friend Tippi introduced me to online finance management and I’m glad I took her advice. It’s so convenient — you can check your balances, transfer funds, and pay monthly bills all from the comforts of home, even on weekends and holidays!
9. Keep extra trash bags at the bottom of your trash cans. This way there’ll always be a bag when you need one.
10. Buy toilet paper, paper towels, and table napkins in bulk. They don’t spoil, it’ll come out cheaper, and having them around will give you peace of mind.
More next time. πŸ˜€
By the way, another fabulous friend Sheila has a happy new blog. She’s an award-winning advertising creative director so please visit her site, try out her tasty recipes, and just see what else goes on inside the mind of a genius! Clicky.

  1. See, I didn’t even know that and I probably wouldn’t have if I didn’t blog about it and if she didn’t point it out. Thank you Cands![ back]
  2. A must-read. In my life I’ve been through a lot of sticky situations where I had difficulty saying no.[ back]
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That day will come, when everybody is a number one.

One of the questions I often get asked is “who are the graphic designers you admire?” It’s quite a list actually so I hope you have time because I’m gonna take you through it right now.

David Carson. He was the Nirvana and Pearl Jam of the visual movement in the 90s. His work on Raygun changed the way I looked at graphic design forever — now here was someone who came up with attention-grabbing work by tossing the rulebook out the window. If you’ve seen the Pillbox magazines and a lot of the local Pepsi ads in the 90s, you’ll see how heavy his influence was on the art director.1

Neville Brody. Consistent use of loud colors, big and bold type, and striking graphic elements make his work distinct and memorable. It was also through studying his work that I learned the proper use of typography2 as a design element. His designs seem to have a life of their own, they leap out of the pages containing them, just like the designer himself — he didn’t stop at print and has branched out to motion and space design as well.3

Saul Bass. This man is a legend, just take a look at the work he’s done — they include iconic posters and logos that have stood the test of time. The use of flat colors, blocky hand-lettered type, and simple shapes define his minimalist style. It’s most likely a testament to the limitations in printing during his time but I’ve always believed that when it comes to visual communication, the simpler and the more straight to the point, the better. Right? πŸ˜€

Milton Glaser. You’ve seen his “I *heart* NY” logo a million times, but the body of work he’s produced speaks volumes about his range as a designer. I can’t say he has a particular style because when you look at his designs, they don’t look like they came from just one person. But the randomness is good in that it shows versatility. Of his work, I like the ones that have illustrations the most. His psychedelic, free-flowing drawings seem to take us back to a time when producing art actually meant freedom of expression (and didn’t involve deadlines).

Locally, I have my design heroes as well and fortunately I’ve had a chance to work with them.

Robert Alejandro. Sir Robert is best known for his whimsical and stylish artworks for Papemelroti and the Ayala Malls. He was my Figure Drawing and Advertising 101 teacher in 3rd year college4 at the UPCFA and he just blew everyone away with his art and out-of-the-box way of thinking. Ask anyone in my class and they’ll tell you that he was the one who inspired them to be (a) an advertising art director; (b) a children’s book illustrator; or (c) a graphic designer — all of which he was.5 How cosmic is it that we formed and now belong to the same design group?

Raymond Legaspi. He’s not as publicly known as Robert but he’s a force to be reckoned with in the Direct Marketing world, having won a ton of awards locally and internationally. Mr. Ray was my very first boss — I had my OJT at J. Walter Thompson in 1991 and was assigned to be his trainee. A few years later, we worked in the same company, Ogilvy & Mather, as colleagues where he was certainly one of the few art-based Creative Directors I had huge respect for because he always stressed on the importance of a big idea in visual thinking, unlike some who focused primarily on execution.6 Incidentally, he retired from the corporate world just a few weeks ago to pursue his first love, painting.

And of course,

Arnold Arre. I know, I know, he’s my husband but to be honest, I’ve admired him and his work waaay before we even met. The first time I ever saw his paintings for Mythos, my mind just reeled at the detail he put into all of them — intricate brush and pen work, the stories behind them7 — the overall distinct style and theme of the entire exhibit was just so well thought of that I knew this guy was an intense and very passionate artist. The same goes for every piece of work he churns out, everything has a story. Everything has a reason. And isn’t that what good design should have? Reason. To matter.

  1. Oh wait a minute, that’s me hehe.[ back]
  2. My ultimate pet peeve: “designers” who stretch, squash and distort type. Ugh, I see it here all the time.[ back]
  3. By the way I have a copy of the Propaganda album, 1234, which is one of his earlier designs. I swear I’ll have it autographed someday.[ back]
  4. In 1990. That was the ONLY year he ever taught, lucky us.[ back]
  5. I guess I’m guilty on all three counts.[ back]
  6. I think the ultimate compliment was when he recommended that I be part of the Design Jury for last year’s Ad congress Araw Awards. I knew then that I’ve somehow earned his nod.[ back]
  7. Yes can you believe it? Ask him about a character in his painting and he’ll tell you the back story he thought up for it.[ back]
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Last year’s troubles are so old fashioned

Halloo, I’m back. This site was down again all weekend so I finally left Affordablehost, my home for five years, for the it – seems – to – me more reliable Axishost. You can read about — and possibly learn from — why I did so on this page.

My Arn turned, umm, another year wiser last weekend! πŸ˜‰ How did we celebrate it? Why with food, food, and more food of course. See the phlog for more pics.


I got him a dress watch and the first season of the 1970s series The Incredible Hulk on DVD and I’ve been watching along, which is a first since I usually get him DVDs for his birthdays1 but I don’t last long watching them. I didn’t think I’d actually get hooked on Hulk since I never got to watch it when I was young2 but it’s very engaging and the way it’s produced makes the situations look so real — bellbottoms, sideburns notwithstanding.



Hanging out and spending time with good friends has become extremely difficult now that everyone’s always busy nowadays. Thankfully though, most of us were able to sync our schedules these past couple of weeks. Again, more pics in the phlog.

Check it out, the great komikero himself, Gerry Alanguilan made a short video featuring an interview with Arn in time for his birthday, no less. Thanks “cousin” Gerry! πŸ˜‰

You can view — and learn from — all his videos here.

By the way, for those of you looking to find extraordinary works to experience, I made a list of graphic novels that are big in heart — basically, stories that made me fall in love with the medium of graphic storytelling. These exemplify what I think has just the right mix of narrative and pretty pictures: not too artsy that the stories don’t make sense anymore, and not too wordy or high falutin that there’s no room to appreciate the story and illustrations. Let me know what you think. πŸ™‚

  1. Last year it was The Alien Quadrilogy, the other year it was Flash Gordon and Battlestar Galactica, and the year before it was the collector’s edition of 2001: A Space Odyssey.[ back]
  2. Wonder Woman and The Bionic Woman being whom I considered superheroes[ back]
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Who will buy this wonderful feeling?

Encouraged by a sudden increase in sales in my Cafepress shops1, I decided to open a few more last week. Four are wedding-related since (1) I’m immersed in the industry hence it’s the easiest to make designs for; and (2) guess what, 80% of my sales are coming from the bridal shop2.

iDo shirts for the iPod-loving couple! (Hello, Carlo and Nina πŸ˜‰ )

“Always a bridesmaid, finally a bride” tees for the been-waiting-for-mr.-right bride.

And because I didn’t want to totally sell out, I made “Tsinelas (flip-flops) Addict” and “Bayong (basket bags) Addict” tees and knick-knacks as the second part of my Pinoy series.

Pinay Style

You can see all the other new shops here3.

My Arn recently received a really nice email from Jasper Lloyd Tan of Cagayan de Oro-based Christian pop-rock band Thoughts and Notions4. Jasper says that (Arn’s book) After Eden inspired him so much that he wrote a song about it called “Earthbound Angel”5

I could choose to soar above the skies
And be one with the flight of angels
But I am here in this world for one purpose
To be with you and be your guide
And be your earthbound angel.

Band info and streaming audio here.

  1. Most of the buyers are US-based. I have a feeling it must be because school is about to start and everyone wants new shirts to wear. Alright![ back]
  2. Plus according to Cafepress’ newswire, the “weddings” tag is among the most sought after, well well well![ back]
  3. You won’t believe it but Arn has shops of his own too, and his products sell even faster than any of mine! He wants to keep them secret for now but someday I’ll share the links with you. πŸ˜‰[ back]
  4. They play music in the tradition of Jars of Clay and Sixpence None the Richer.[ back]
  5. I was really touched when I learned about it — I’m sure you can tell how proud I am of my husband’s work and I know how much he’s inspired his readers but inspiring someone to write a song with a wonderful message, now that’s a first.[ back]
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To being an ‘us’ for once, instead of a ‘them’

Anyone who has the time and patience to make anything handmade is definitely a hero in my book, and as some of you know, I’ve been posting about everything-DIY for years1 so I thought, ok, for once I’ll show (and not just tell).
Project #1: Purse organizer

A 2003 issue of Real Simple2 featured a Purseket, an organizer that you can transfer from bag to bag and I thought “what a brilliant idea!” since I, just like every other girl, switch bags whenever the mood strikes me. (And I hate being out on the road and then realizing that oops, my license is in my other bag!)3 It looked fairly easy to make too so I rummaged for unused fabric and proceeded to make my own version… tadah!

There’s a pocket for everything I need when I go out: my cellphone, palm pilot, wallet, license holder, hairbrush, powder compact/tissue/blotting paper, and pen. The best thing is that it can conform to any size bag.

Here’s how to do it, it’s as easy as 1-2-3!
You will need two sheets of fabric (any kind but ideally, the stiffer, the better4), approximately 25″ x 6″; needle and thread; and velcro fasteners.
Get the measurements of each of the items you want to put inside the pockets.


Plot the layout and then cut the fabric to size, doubling the height so it can be folded over. Baste to hold the folds in place. Make two of these sheets and then form pockets by stitching them together along the lines according to your measurements.


Stick velcro fasteners along the edges and voila, you now have your very own purseket-a-like.


I also did some spring cleaning and found an old pair of jeans that I don’t wear anymore5 so I fashioned it into a vest for our dear little kitty.

It’s a bit crude since I got too lazy to hem the edges but Abbas seems to like it anyway.6 The red satin ribbon “belt” is from a gift we received last Christmas and the button is from one of Arn’s old shirts.


And finally, I also want to share with you my humble attempt at graphic storytelling — in fact it’s so far been my only attempt. The comic appeared in Ramon de Veyra‘s Hey Comics! anthology that came out in 2004. Um… hope you like it. πŸ™‚


(It’s only 3-pages long, click here.)

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  1. Maybe even before the term DIY caught on locally[ back]
  2. One of my all-time favorite magazines — I hound Booksale outlets for back issues at least once a month. πŸ˜€[ back]
  3. It’s actually happened to me a couple of times. When it does, I just drive ever-so-carefully and pray that I don’t run into violations.[ back]
  4. Mine’s kinda flimsy as you can see, but hey, it does its job.[ back]
  5. Well, they don’t fit anymore, sigh. Besides, it’s baston.[ back]
  6. Abbas: “Lies! All lies!”[ back]
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I'm Cynthia Bauzon-Arre, a Filipino watercolor artist & graphic designer. I live in QC with my talented graphic novelist husband Arnold and our friendly marmalade tabby Abbas. This blog has been chronicling my life, likes, and loves since 2001. [ more ]

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