Hobonichi Techo 2017

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I got myself a Hobonichi for Christmas! I’ve heard very good things about the paper (Tomoe River), and also I’m a sucker for well-designed objects. I got it from their official online store, and I received the parcel a couple of weeks after through EMS.

nbnh-2017-16_zps2gj9al92What’s in the box. Okay, sorry for the dramatic lighting of all the photos haha. It was that time of day and I couldn’t get any more light in the room.

nbnh-2017-17_zpsgwfl81agBefore anything else, this cute flyer also came with the package. It’s an ad for a social media app for pets, I think?

nbnh-2017-18_zps20ftavstThe planner is paperback, with weeks starting on Mondays, and in A6 size that is perfect for my small drawings and handwriting, heh.

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nbnh-2017-20_zps8wg5vokwhashtag attention to small details

The first pages feature months in different formats, providing ample amount of space for everything you may possibly need and want to do this 2017.

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nbnh-2017-24_zpsflx0hlloThe bulk of the planner features the daily pages, with weekends in red ink. There are also tabs printed on the side of the pages to mark each month. Pretty nifty.

nbnh-2017-25_zpshtcopktwThe back pages have a few sheets of dot grid…

nbnh-2017-26_zpsyontn8wu…and a few more with illustrated guides to Japanese culture.

nbnh-2017-42_zpswqoihzvoThere are quotes on the bottom of each spread. Some are about art and film, some are poems.

nbnh-2017-43_zpsz9osinvfIt spreads out flat but doesn’t crack the spine!

I bought mine a little late already and most of the covers were out of stock. I got this pretty knit cover by Tricote. SO NICE. I think I would’ve gotten this, still, even if the others were in stock, heh.

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How it looks like with the planner. You can hang your pen on the side.

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I love the tassel bookmark, too!

I got the plastic cover to wrap over this, but apparently it doesn’t fit on this knit one because of the size of pen holder. A lot of the other covers have the pen holder set lower.

Aside from notebooks and covers, the Hobonichi store also carries stationery, cutting supplies, and other novelty items to complement the planners. I got an OLFA top sheet cutter (over the perforating knife, which I also had my eyes on). The best utility knife I own is an OLFA, and I really like how it fits perfectly in my hand.

nbnh-2017-32_zpsjr7i4kxg
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nbnh-2017-34_zps3fcc07eoYou can slide the blade to control how deep you want to cut into your paper. I can use this to cut out stuff from magazines without damaging the parts underneath the page. It’s small, too, and fits just right in the average pencil case.

nbnh-2017-35_zpsxgwsqbzzAnd lastly, this wonderful pack came as a freebie! A uni multi pen (black, blue, red), and a plastic buttered toast plate WHAT.

nbnh-2017-37_zps81sho3f8I love this so much haha.

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Some pages I’ve filled already. I use Pitt pens and a sign pen. I heard the paper holds watercolor well, but I have yet to try it. The ink does show on the other side of the page, but it doesn’t bleed over. This doesn’t bother me, though. When you write or paint on the other side, the marks get covered up, so that’s fine.

Overall, I am happy with my planner. Here are some pros and cons that might help if you’re interested in getting one, too.

Pros: Well-designed and no-nonsense. You can spread the pages flat without doing damage to the book. Good selection of covers. I really like the paper, I can use this both as a daily sketchbook and a planner. Some find it small, but I like the size just fine because my handwriting and drawings are tiny anyway. Lightweight, very portable.

Cons: It’s on the pricier side of planners. The size is a downside to others; they get the other planner variations on the store instead. I have to wrap my planner in something before I throw it in my bag so the cover doesn’t get dirty way too soon, and so nothing snags on the knitting.

There. *bow*

The making of.

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Agustin Goy opened his exhibit at the National Museum last January 19.

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Some pieces from his Ballerines exhibit from a few years ago.
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Watercolor pieces with amazing detail and lighting technique!

nbnh-2017-11_zpsisf5v0y41Abi with her portrait

nbnh-2017-12_zpsv2iopgl8Studio Dialogo with Papa Goy. Cheers!

I can’t wrap my head around sixty years of making art. I mean, I’m only 28 and I’m constantly tired, so this is very humbling for me. Sixty years of painting and drawing and hardwork that ultimately shows in the quality of the pieces he’s done over the years. He has also apprenticed under the great Vicente Manansala! I’m proud that the country has artists like him. I hope I grow up to be someone as persevering in whatever field I may end up working in for the rest of my days, art-related or not. At one point during the opening I started to think about the next sixty years of life until I got antsy about the possibilities. I love what I do but the future scares me a lot these days, so I’ll have to leave the future to take care of itself / me / us.

Agustin Goy: Sixty Years in Art runs until March 19 at the National Museum (Old Legistlative Building).


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Graphika Manila also happened this month. It was a 2-day event featuring designers, artists, and illustrators from different corners of our lovely world. Pictured above, Jonathan Kim from Rare Volume, one of my favorite speakers from the event.

They make interactive data visualization pieces which are super cool. He talked about the importance of collaboration and making experiments with people who do entirely different things from you. I could just imagine how much testing and research goes into their kind of work. It’s also pretty amazing how they can push technology like that. What a time to be alive.

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Gary Baseman was also there to show us his sketches, and share concepts behind some of his exhibits and paintings. He talked about his family background, heritage, memory, loss, and displacement. His talk had a very different tone from the rest of the speakers because his was the most personal, I think, and profound in a way.

On the second day my favorites were Avid Liongoren who talked about Saving Sally and everything his team learned from making the film, and Mr. Bingo, his full-production Kickstarter intro rap video, and his love for hate mail. I liked most of this year’s speakers, and in general this year’s GM was alright.

Although~ The biggest disappointment was how the host went about the event, and why the management allowed it. It was like she didn’t take the industry seriously enough to prioritize asking relevant questions to the speakers, instead of asking them to dance, rap, what their shampoo of choice is, or which sports teams they like. Most of the very few questions that were asked every after speaker were insignificant, which I am only feeling frustrated about because there were only what, two, three questions that were entertained every after speaker. This has happened before, too, when this guy took one of the precious two Q&A spots for the Sagmeister talk to just ask the designer to sign his girlfriend’s book in public.

And we wonder why a lot of people don’t take design seriously in this country.

I have a lot of strong feelings about constantly presenting design in a gimmicky noontime show way. Some people enjoy it, sure, inevitably so. I mean, we’re in the Philippines. Fun times are fun (fun times sell~~~ hello elephant in the room), and play is an integral part of creativity, but I think education, insight, and discourse should be at the forefront of these conferences, not entertainment. Right now, it’s the only conference of its kind and of that scale, with the capacity to bring in international speakers and all. People (students!) shell out money and spend a whole weekend at the event, and I they deserve something more. I really hope to see improvements in the future.



The Sunday Currently, no. 4

Reading
Just finished After Lambana (Eliza Victoria, Mervin Malonzo, published by Visprint). I enjoyed it and I’m happy I bought it. Please read more local graphic novels!  On a different note, my copy had badly printed pages towards the end. I wonder if I can get it replaced?

Also my Twitter feed is bursting at the seams with current events. My country’s president is still one of the worst there is right now, and it gives me real anxiety just thinking about how his words affect the country every time he opens his mouth. I can’t keep up with everything. Also, as for foreign news, my heart goes out to everyone stuck in the airports due to the immigration ban, and applause for all the lawyers camping out there, offering their services pro bono to help all those people.

Listening
La La Land’s score. I like the score, shush.

Watching
Just finished Chunking Express, Wong Kar Wai, one of my comfort films.

Loving
My sister, because she turned 18 this past week!  For the past 18 years, me and my family have never known anything that will be for certain because of her condition (she has brain nerve damage), and it’s been quite a journey for us all. Every year added is a very special gift that we are tremendously grateful for.

Aside from that, nothing. All my feelings towards anything else are desaturated because it’s that time of the month, and all my energies are focused on fighting abdominal pain and a ton of discomfort.

Needing
To catch up on news even though it hurts huhu. Wrap up drawing assignments and replying to emails.

Wanting
To do something about the chaos but what???

Feeling
Alright, okay.

The Sunday Currently is by Sidda Thonton

The Sunday Currently, no. 3

Reading

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I finally (!) have a bit of time to read actual paper books and not audiobooks! I borrowed a few from Abi and family’s library. I first saw Jenny Saville’s work in 2015’s Art Basel HK. She’s so good! And before I left for the other year’s internship, Abi told me about Raymond Ching and his bird paintings. I love the context he paints his birds in. His lighting technique also reminds me of Durer.

Liza also lent me her Hamiltome. She and Jamie introduced me to Hamilton last year, and I’ve enjoyed it a lot, heh. It is a big, big regret of mine that I didn’t get into it when I was still in New York. I could’ve watched a show! Woe. (Another big regret is not getting to taste girl scout cookies which I have heard great things about, but that is a completely different story altogether.)

Listening
Andrew Bird’s “Echolocations: Canon” album, and also the Hamilton soundtrack, both the original cast version and the mixtape.

Watching
I am on Season 2 of Mind of a Chef.

Loving
-Semi-spicy spinach with oyster mushrooms, and turmeric fried rice. All ingredients found in your friendly neighborhood palengke (market).

nbnh-2017-6_zpsegzohvt9-These hand-illustrated ceramic cups from a Japan Surplus shop along Kamuning that Roja, who I know from INK, pointed out. For good measure, all the ceramic ware were half-price on the day I visited.

-Alsoooo my parents, who just left last week, and who I won’t be seeing until who-knows-when. It’s been ages since I’ve been with both of them at the same time for the holiday. In a span of the few weeks that we were together, I’d witnessed them fight, get along real well, and everything in between.That’s how I realized that A) I know nothing about love. Nothing. and B) My father is a very good man, and I am proud of him. I can only hope to marry someone as kind and patient someday.

nbnh-2017-0_zpswqspelaxHere is a sunset photo from Antipolo to cap off my cheesy sentiments.

-And lastly, I bought a shelf! We changed shelves in the office and I bought the old one we had. This is in my room, and currently houses reference books, some picture books, and graphic novels. So now all my paperbacks can live in the old shelf, where they will be properly stored and sorted instead of just being in piles on a table.

Manila Maker is awesome, check out their stuff and buy a shelf or ten.

Needing
To finish a couple more pending projects and I am officially deadline-free! The first time in more than a year. Lesson learned in not biting off more than you can chew, brought to you by the year 2016.

Also, I picked up my Bible recently and the cover started to disintegrate, hala.

Wanting
I want all these chaos-causing people in the government to just calm down and maybe, you know, go away………

Feeling
OK, at the moment.

Looking Forward To
-I ordered a planner and it’s supposed to arrive this coming week and it’s supposed to have really good paper and I’m excited.

-Along with a couple of Taiyou Matsumoto books that are also supposed to arrive in the mail reaaally soon.

-Getting my computer. I really dislike changing electronic devices and so I have been stalling. But! I’m in the process of checking out the stores where I’ll be getting the pieces of my Frankenstein system, and hopefully by next month, I will start a new chapter of my life wow haha.

-In the past week, I am proud to say that my semi-sedentary self did not pass out while lifting dumbbells and doing planks at home after work, so I’m kind of looking forward to getting through this coming week’s set. I’ve found that a bit of exercise helps me with my anxiety every day and puts me to sleep easily at nigt. I’m really trying to convince myself to just get on with it daily.


Here are some work things!

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Last week I wrapped up some illustrated posters for the Masungi Georeserve and their geotourism and conservation educ projects. I learned so much working on the posters, especially about which species of the animals and plants on the list are endemic to the Philippines, and what they looked like. For instance, the jade vine grows purple in the country, and our local wisteria grows white instead of lilac (European variety). The native impatiens are white, too, instead of the purple and pink ones that look more familiar. It astounds me to learn how much biodiversity can exist in such a small (well, compared to the rest of the country) space like Masungi.

A lot of things feel relatively insignificant compared to this. Nature projects have a very special place in my heart because they are humbling to work on, and they put things in perspective. Carl Sagan was right about the pale blue dot.

I’ll show you the final posters some other time, but here are some style studies. I wanted to render everything in paint, and was a couple of birds in when I saw the timeline, and decided to just draw everything digitally in the interest of time. I’m happy with the paintings, though, and will push through with the other birds someday.

It was my first time to try this realistic style, and I definitely learned a lot of new things about painting with new materials (hot pressed watercolor paper and acryl gouache, which is basically matte acrylic).

Here is a peek of the final drawings that made it to the posters.

nbnh-2017-4_zpsvu5ekmymAnd a peek of a picture book drawing. Not sure when this book comes out, though. Bleep bloop.

And lastly, Studio Dialogo’s latest collab with Prestige Papers is out. I helped work on the illustrations for the covers. I first drew the leaves digitally, then we printed them out, cut each leaf, and composed and mounted them in papercut art style. We had them photographed, then laid them out across the diff products. It was tedious but enjoyable!


Some holiday introspection has brought me to notice how much my life has…hushed. I sometimes find myself missing the more intrepid parts of my early 20s, maybe even wishing I had the stamina and social capabilities to still live like that, but! I also know that taking care of myself in a quiet way is what I have to do at the moment. I need to take deep breaths and sit still for a bit; the adventures can wait for a while longer.

Recently, I’ve learned a few things about how to calm myself down and/or distract myself from bad thoughts. Particularly useful ones that maybe you can use in times of anxiety too, include:
-taking longs breaks from social media
-only thinking of the people within a 100m radius
-consciously remembering good memories from people who genuinely care
-recalling kind things strangers have done for me and for others
-a bit of exercise every day
-and a personal favorite, food show/documentary binges on Netflix heh

A very happy new year to you all, and here’s to a productive and quietly content 2017. I know last year dragged us all by the teeth into the dirt, but as the Rilo Kiley song goes, our bruises are coming / but we will never fold.

The Sunday Currently, no. 2

2016-nov-1_zpso87d8adwHello friends.

Reading

Type has (once again?) been all the rage for the past few years and everyone’s been exploring it, but one of my favorite designers and letterers still remains to be Jessica Hische. Through the years I’ve been a fan of both the development of her work (from her early illustration days up to now when she’s made font systems already) and her perspective about work and life. It’s true what they say about excellent work standing out, no matter how many others do or try to do the same kind of work she does. At some point I went through this phase of getting sick of type because it got so popular that there came a point when it was being used way too much for everything. There had been a lot of work that looked nice but were out of context.

I borrowed this from Rommel, but I really want to get myself my own copy. I’ve enrolled in her Skillshare drop cap class years ago, and this book reminds me a lot of the things she taught there. The book has so much more insight, though, as she writes more extensively about her process and also about her daily life as a designer.

Jessica is always a source of joy for me as a designer because of how energetic and gung-ho, not to mention level-headed, she is about work and life in general. No pretentious gimmicks, just hard work and the eagerness to share and educate others, and the occasional hilarious anecdote.

Listening
More Jessica Hische!

Watching
No time to watch anything now, but I did start Midnight Diner: Tokyo Stories on Netflix recently, and the first episode was pretty good.

Loving

Dinner is served. 😆 #steak Meat 24″ x 36″ designer paper Swathe X J. Pacena

A photo posted by Swathe (@swathe.manila) on Oct 29, 2016 at 3:07am PDT

Swathe Manila’s meat cuts pattern

Needing
Swiffer refills, AA batteries, Frontline flea spray for the cat #adulting

Wanting
The year to not end yet? Teka lang, ang dami pang hinahabol!

Feeling
So much better. Besides the fact that local and international current events have been driving everyone crazy these past weeks, I think most of my anxiety is just leftover quarter life crisis, and also brought about by all the deadlines. And…also the thought of turning 30 in a few years. But really, I could choose to A) fret about it and grow ever more wrinkly and grumpy before I even have to OR B) not let the weight of other people’s judgments burden me or dictate what I should do with my life and career. *triple bicep emojis*

Church has also helped. I know the higher powers aren’t exactly the most popular things in the world right now, which I completely understand. The world as we know it feels like it’s about to implode any time now, and it’s just a really miserable time for everyone. But after much thinking and questioning and all, I think I still do believe in God. I still have tons of questions but all the good things still very much outweigh all the doubt. It took me a while to get back in this state and I don’t think I want to let anyone or anything take away this feeling of peace from me.

The Sunday Currently is by Sidda Thonton

In other news!

  1. I have been told that all my zines (well, there were just a few, but still!) were sold out during day 1 of Komikon yesterday! This makes me so happy, thank you world. And extra special thanks with ice cream and leche flan on top to Eva and the rest of the table friends for carrying my zines!
  2. I tried to finish painting some old drawings yesterday as warm-up for real work.
  3. And here is a peek of some plant sketches for an ongoing conservation education project. The beautiful jade vine, locally known as tayabak , is native to the Philippines.
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Changing minds

Hello, it is I, arising from the hiatus. A little long weekend has allowed me a bit of time to stop and get myself together.

fruit picking _____ #illustration #waxpastel

A post shared by Frances Alvarez (@nobeesnohoney) on

Life lately has mostly been work, which is a good and bad thing at the same time. Good because I like the kind of work I do very much, but also a bit bad because I know that somehow, I thrive on activities that aren’t work / art / illustration / design related at all. This tail-end of the year requires me to shuffle harder than ever, however, because there are bills to be paid and a computer to be replaced. I need to suck it up extra until things are stable again.

It took me a while to admit this to myself but I have been struggling a bit with illustration recently. I’m not sure why but I’ve been rather unhappy with the things I’ve been making, and I keep on redoing them with the constant hope of coming up with something worthy of being put out there.

img_0806patch by Stay Home Club

This has got me to thinking about where I might have gone wrong in the process, and about how my work habits have changed over time. I really want to make the best work I can with my current skill level and insights, and being stuck in this slump is driving me mad haha. Work and life goes on though, graciously or mercilessly, weather weather lang. Despite my frustrations with myself, I am still grateful.

Maybe I need to change my mind about things.

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I remember a time when it was quiet in my head and in my work. That is where I hope to go back to.



The Sunday Currently, no. 1
dun dun dunnn

Reading
Cabinet of Natural Curiosities by Albertus Seba
It’s this wonderful book of illustrated forms and creatures from nature. Makes for an excellent reference book, but also it’s just really soothing to go through. I found it at the Interior Design section of a National Bookstore branch, just because it has “cabinet” in the title, woe.

Listening
Regina Spektor’s new album Remember Us To Life
Stellar. I love it so much. I’ve always been a fan, and this new album is such a treat. My favorite tracks are Bleeding Heart and Small Bill$. Additional fact: I made a Spektor-inspired rap song in college to join a songwriting competition of the Filipino Department. It was kind of a secret and only told just one friend about it. I didn’t win though I was secretly happy anyway haha. Ok, moving on…

Watching
Elementary Season 5, Ep2

Loving
These Pitt pens from Abi!
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Needing
Advil. I’ve been getting these headaches upon waking up from weekend naps, and thanks to Google, I now know that there are such things as sleep headaches. I get headaches because my body isn’t used to daytime sleep, and my bodily fluids get disoriented and won’t coordinate with everyone else. Me in the year 2016, resistant to change inside and out.

Wanting
Capital for new merch I want to produce. Dear God, help me get my act together, amen.

Feeling
Anxious but hopeful!

The Sunday Currently is by Sidda Thonton

Hide and seek

I turned one of last year’s personal projects into a zine.

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Ladies in Jeepneys is an illustrated zine featuring the different women, girls, females that I encounter everyday during my commute. I am very much inspired by how women carry themselves in the haggard environment of reckless jeepneys and Manila chaos. It’s part homage, part diary, part documentation.

Ladies in Jeepneys, volume 1 will debut in all its full-color glory this coming Saturday, August 6, at the Komikon Indieket. It’s going to be at the Bayanihan Center along Pioneer St. in Kapitolyo, Pasig. I’ll be with my amazing friend Yas Doctor who’s also launching her Sari-Sari Project zine. See you at table P07!


IN OTHER NEWS, amidst all the CRAZIES the Philippines is going through,  I’ve meant so much to write about the past AFCC, to no avail because I’m still catching up on deadlines! I’m currently working on a picture book, my Ang INK 25th anniv show artwork, a couple other freelance illustration  projects, and my day job! It’s crazy and very challenging. Some days are great, some frustrating, but ultimately I couldn’t be any more grateful that I can draw and design everyday.

And so we grind on~ See you around, friends!

Good Night Philippines, Good Night World

My new book is here.

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Good Night Philippines, Good Night World
written by Mila Bongco-Philipzig
published by Anvil

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Special thanks to El Silvestre of Anvil, RayVi Sunico, and Studio Dialogo for their patience and support while I was working on this project. I started this when I was in Ithaca and it had taken me so long to finally get things right and submit my work, so whew, here it is now.

The book is available on Anvil’s online shop, but will be also be in local bookstores soon. Cheers!

Atlanta

Another one of my overdue posts, this time about a little side trip I went on last month.

I visited Andrew, a friend from college, before I left the States for Manila. We drove (he drove is what really happened) to Atlanta for a little weekend trip. Walked around a lot and talked a lot and looked for Korean food in the cold.

I haven’t actually seen Drew in almost 5 years, and we’ve only started talking again when my internship started. Funny turn of events! It was very nice to have a friend to talk to about home (and being homesick!) during the whole time I was in the States. In Tagalog, for good measure. Paying him a little visit before I left was really the least I could do to say thank you for the virtual company.

nbnh-atl-2_zpszairazglIt was storming when I left Jersey. Me and my lovely relationship with airports.

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nbnh-atl-3_zpshnikf7eunbnh-atl-5_zps5wchtcrkBut it was so sunny in South Carolina. Unbelievable. I was in winter clothes.

The drive was 3 and something hours from SC to Atlanta.

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Good morning, Atlanta. I had no idea whatsoever of what this city was like. We mostly winged it haha. Which was refreshing because it’s also a nice way to go about a vacation, just walking around and taking in whatever you stumble upon along the way without thinking about it too much.

I expected more people downtown but it seemed like nobody really likes to walk around there?

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Hello hello hello.

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Lots of street art in Atlanta. There were a ton more we weren’t able to visit.

nbnh-atl-19_zps2ny5cmqsI think this is a mockingbird?

nbnh-atl-20_zpsdeypc4wcPolar bear paw bedroom slippers in the Coke museum store!

nbnh-atl-22_zpsdaqu5iz7Went to the Georgia Aquarium. It’s supposedly the biggest aquarium in America.

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nbnh-atl-23_zpszats9uolAlbino alligator! What a beaut. On the drive home from Atlanta, Andrew and I were talking about an idea of having a wildlife reserve housing only albino animals.

nbnh-atl-24_zpsnrkdald7sea stars

nbnh-atl-28_zpsooa5z5yzsea stars in piles

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nbnh-atl-26_zpsdfzgtqd1nbnh-atl-27_zpsz1axytjrthe spectacular sea dragon

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nbnh-atl-30_zps3jocuthfa coupla nerds

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The biggest tank held 4 whale sharks. Before we went, I researched on how ethical this was, and why these creatures were in the aquarium in the first place. I’ve read that the whale sharks were on their way to being sold on the black market, to be slaughtered and sold as food. The whole operation was intercepted and the whale sharks were rescued and rehabilitated.

nbnh-atl-32_zpspliveagtmore nerds with squid hats we very much coveted

nbnh-atl-33_zpsofbdffpdcuttlefish

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nbnh-atl-36_zpstujr5tawjellies

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little friend bids us goodbye

nbnh-atl-39_zpspsvj8ncuStreetcar envy. I wish our public transportation system was this efficient, woe.

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nbnh-atl-41_zpsss2kbmjrsome guys carrying a little boombox, playing some music while walking around

Ended the first night with Korean food and a ton of cookies because that is what you eat on vacations, obviously.

nbnh-atl-42_zpssema7hixDropped by 209 Mitchell Street before leaving Atlanta to see this mural by Belgian street artist ROA. He paints animals that are endemic to the area.

nbnh-atl-45_zpstewjpesq
nbnh-atl-44_zps7fowt3moobligatory and inevitable

nbnh-atl-46_zpsyqcv54teBye Atlanta, see ya later.

As I said, we mostly winged it. I opened the Atlanta map on the Google app, put as much stars to mark every place that seemed interesting, and then we tried to drop by them when we were in the area. Or at least something close to that happened. Also had help from On the Grid, which has curated a lot of other interesting non-touristy spots in different cities around the world.

Ah yes, fun times.

P.S. Hello Andrew, see ya later too.