what i've learned


Just kidding.

To be honest, sometimes I want to quit my job. I’m not sure if it’s just me or it’s a universal feeling. It’s especially hard that I am my own boss, because that means I will be firing myself.

What I have learned though, after numerous quitting attempts, is that it is an opportunity to redesign and reflect on my vision. It reminds me that I am actually free to modify my work and choose projects that resonate with what I love most. It is a significant phase. And as soon as the melancholy feeling passes and I have a grip of what I want to do, a glorious feeling comes afterward.

In celebration of passing the difficult test of “to quit or not to quit,” here’s a little artwork I did.

I guess one of the most important things to do when you’re getting that urge to quit is to do things for yourself. Enjoy the process. Stay up late if you need to. Summon every good feeling and express yourself. Collect all of which that enchant you. Mine is photography and watching winged creatures do their thing. Fly.



behind the design

I can say that one of my most famous works is the Dino Lara Photography Website. It was one of the toughest projects yet dearest to my heart. I’m simply proud that I made it.

For some “behind the scenes” feel, here are some initial drafts:

The About section was supposed to look like a slam book.


The main look was like photocopied paper with some playful highlighter accents.


The sidebar image initially looked like this.


Revisions. Revisions. Revisions. Blood. Sweat. Tears. Revisions. Revisions. Et voila.

I retained the photocopied paper feel but now it is more subtle. A cutout image on the sidebar links to the About section, and social media pages.


The About section is all about trivia involving numbers.


Our Rates section is fashioned like a menu so the customers can understand each.


Our Gallery sections is kind of like a wedding vow presented in a witty way.


Each Gallery category is presented in a different way. My favorite and trickiest to design is the wedding we presented that was quite controversial, so it was only apt to do it newspaper-themed.


What most people do not know is that the concept and even all the wordings are mine. So now you know why it is up there on my favorites list. This project is practically baby, and as a bonus, my baby gave birth to other babies: I now write for other people as well.

Why I suddenly blogged about this project is because we encountered an issue of our content being copied by another photographer. All is settled now, though, no need to worry. Dino Lara Photography has many, many fans so they probably took care of the matter before we could. Pride in your own work is important. While it is flattering, I would like to inspire others to do their own thing. There is enough creativity to go around, so there’s no need to copy anybody.

As if to appease my soul, I came across a fan who brought a cutout portion of the design to one of Dino Lara’s weddings.


Pardon me if I do my happy dance as I end this post. Doing your best has its perks.


behind the design

Andrew and Diana just celebrated their 2nd year anniversary, and so to commemorate such sacred union (and because I love them both), I’m sharing with you how the design for their wedding invitation came about.

Diana has a friend who is an artist and had this drawing of them. It was up to me how to translate it into a garden setting with the colors pink and green as motif.


I tapped my magic wand and came up with these.




Bippity Boppity Boo. I did some landscaping for blooming flowers and planted a huge tree, and I also changed the colors of their outfits. I freed their Shih Tzu, Harry, from his leash which made him much happier.

If you look closely at the Bridal Entourage, you’ll see yours truly as the Maid of Honor. :) Teehee.

*The invitation was printed by the awesome people at GA Printing, no less. :) And by tapping my magic wand, I mean happily bonding with the Photoshop gods.



Artwork as a gift. :) It’s personal, entirely from the heart, and made with blood, tears and sweat (I’m kidding except for the sweat part especially during the summer).



I celebrated my 31st birthday a couple of weeks ago. I wish I can say I have the full (supposed) wisdom of a woman my age.

Looking back at these 1s and 3s below colorful lanterns that decorated our living room for a good month, I can feel a sort of transition dawning upon me.

I’ve been devouring this book called The Art of Manliness Manvotionals. I scanned it quickly at the bookstore and my eyes approved of the design. One big bonus of course is that the lessons are universal and doesn’t just apply solely to men.

“For the man who makes everything that leads to happiness, or near to it, to depend upon himself, and not upon other men … has adopted the very best plan for living happily. This the man of moderation; this is the man of manly character and of wisdom.” -Plato

May this manly book strengthen the woman in me.


behind the design

It was a very unique circumstance how this project started because the website was meant to be a gift. As in a birthday gift from Jason to Madge. (Cutest couple award!)

He told me what she liked- that was the only source of enlightenment I had for the first draft. But then, as I didn’t really know Madge personally at the time, it turned out to be a miss.

And so we had to meet up. I’m telling you, the meeting was a revelation. We have so much in common. I totally get her. And then, that was how her website came to be: all intuitive, a reflection of what she was feeling at the time with Dymo labels that matched her organizing skills in real life.

But it had been a about two years since we launched and we were ready for something fresh. We had been meeting every once in a while brainstorming about a new website. Yet nothing was solid yet. I know her style but something was missing.

And then she posted this on Instagram:

“Sit. And be more beautiful.”

Something clicked so hard it gave birth to our  #bemorebeautiful campaign. It was appropriate. The hashtag is the new sign of our times.

From this concept, I thought dissecting the tag into four components could also match specific parts of the website. # is for contact info as the pound sign can be found on phone keypads. Be is for being yourself- something Madge can express through the blog. More is for the about section because the team adds to the beauty of their clients. Last but not the least, beautiful is for showcasing their works.

We produced a simple and clean design that is so perfectly Madge-like, and we came up with a little write-up that ties everything together.

“In a nutshell, #bemorebeautiful is a simple culmination of what we do and what we are about. It is to express our aesthetic with genuine encouragement for you to embrace yourself. You have us, a team of professionals, whose purpose is to make you look and feel good, for we believe that you already truly beautiful.”

I feel like our design had been simmering all this time. It was an idea whose time has come.

It is a very rewarding experience to see a more refined style borne out of something natural. This is what I work for: the bliss of growth.

What’s funny is during our last meeting at Chateau 1771, while we were sharing yummy desserts, another client of mine, Ian, with his wife Shy, walked by and told me that their newly improved website was being praised by their wedding couples. As with Madge, Ian is an old client of mine whose website also got redesigned to mirror the success of their company.

I care about my clients’ business. I’m not here for a one-time project. I wish to grow alongside them and learn from them as well. I wish to provide not just designs but something more meaningful and valuable.

This project continues to be a beautiful experience. I thank Madge for being such an inspiring client, not to mention very cool with all her artistic inclinations and domestic goddess skills. Another aspect is that it’s not all business, at the very heart of it is genuine friendship- something that project fees cannot buy.

Please feel free to visit Makeup Studio Team by Madge Lejano for all things beautiful. Seriously, I’m a fan.


behind the design

This post commemorates our logo redesign project. By the way, it is not necessarily easier to redesign for a loyal client. It’s a whole new ball game. Every design project is a journey, and what a journey it was! Come reminisce with me.

I visualized a modern style that can easily be monogrammed. This was my main idea for the whole project.



Here’s a more playful take using patterns.


This was the draft that hinted that we are getting warmer.


Ian thought maybe a more playful and colorful variation would do it.


And then Ian wondered what if we turned it into some sort of a butterfly.


Shift. Back to a simplistic one with a new color scheme.


A little bit of editing to make it look basic. This was my go signal to go crazy with the final design.



—– cue to take one deep breath, friends —–


Then we come to the final one with the whole shebang and the color scheme to be used for the website.




I’m happy because Ian’s wife Shy shared how happy she is about the logo. She said it looks like a four leaf clover which symbolizes faith, hope, love and luck. All of which is what their business Ian Cruz Films is about. Very nice!

I love the final concept but I can’t help but feel some affection towards the scrapped ones. Each draft is like a child of mine. This must be what it means when they say it’s the journey, not that destination.


what i've learned

I was reading Leo Babauta’s post in Zenhabits called A Guide to Practical Contentment when I thought not about contentment but about content-meant. Get it?

Blogs today have become so powerful they can create a “tribe”. A tribe, according to the amazing Seth Godin,  is a group of people connected to one another, connected to a leader, connected to an idea. Post it in one second, and it could go viral the next. Sharing is one of the basic things we do now, right next to eating and taking a bath. And sometimes, our priorities get so skewed that we connect the very moment we wake up.

Let me ask this one question. What do you share?

I stand by the principle of original content- authentic, personal, just anything that rings true to us. Isn’t it satisfying to create something that fulfills us? Your first reader is always yourself. Produce something that means something to you.

Oh don’t get me started on blogs filled we reblogs and blogs that sold their digital souls for the sake of irrelevant advertisements and free stuff. What a waste of authenticity. Self-expression, genuine connections, brilliant ideas coming to life: these are what blogs are for. Our blogs represent ourselves. We are what we share.

So let me ask once again. What do you share?

Have a great day. :)