School supplies for adults: 2017 edition

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Manila (CNN Philippines Life) — The back-to-school season can make adults well beyond their schooling years yearn for the days when they could pick up new notebooks and pens — similar to another attempt at the blank slate the new year has promised, only wiping the slate clean and starting again mid-way through. A sequel to our first post on school supplies for grown-ups, here is a list of things you can pick up for your home or office, in the spirit of the new school year.


Get to planning

Edging out the once ubiquitous black leather Moleskine journals (ubiquitous, at least, in many creative circles) are the similarly-designed Leuchtturm1917, otherwise known as the Bullet Journaler’s notebook of choice. Pairing well with the planning system du jour, the Leuchtturm1917 notebook has a built-in index and numbered pages, cutting down the effort that the sometimes laborious D.I.Y. system calls for.

Available in blank, lined, grid, and dot-grid styles and in a number of sizes, you can customize these journals by having your book engraved at National Bookstore for free.


If the Bullet Journal system isn’t quite the best fit for you, try on the Hobonichi for size. Pre-dated, but with a perfect mix of blank and practical design, the Japanese-made Hobonichis are bound tomes of the famed Tomoe River Paper. Think Bible-thin sheets that can withstand watercolors and most pens and markers. Hobonichi fans use their books — be it the Techo, Cousin, Weeks, or Avec — to document their day-to-day activities in a way that matters most to them.

Currently, you can only order them through the Hobonichi store (i.e. all the way from Japan), but a few Scribe outlets carry the Techo Planner (A6), which is the version that comes with the English translation, as do some online retailers.


Upgrade your correspondence

Looking for well-designed, locally-made stationery that makes you seem more grown up and put together than you probably are? Check out Community Store Co. and fawn over their letter sets and pocket notebooks. Founded by Meryll Soriano and Patrick Jamora, Community Store Co. has an aesthetic that’s focused on the minimalist beauty of found surfaces and textures. Though available online through Community Store Co., you can also cop these beautiful pieces at Space Encounters (Padilla Building, F. Ortigas Jr. Rd., Pasig City), Phoenix Home (Kalayaan Ave., Makati City), and at branches of Heima.

If you prefer your stationery and paper goods to appeal to your fun side, try TWOTHIRTYSIXTY on for size. Founded by architect and designer Kath Mitra, TWOTHIRTYSIXTY’s range is reminiscent of the wildly popular pattern-heavy aesthetic of Anna and Nathan Bond’s Rifle Paper Co., but with a local twist. Find everything from postcards, notebooks, letter sets, mugs, and even phone cases through their many stockists or online.


There are several companies that provide customized stationery for gifting or for yourself. Try Instagram shop Paper & Print by Unico which provides easy templates, or go all the way and customize everything from paper quality to envelope color with Printcafe Print and Paper Co. (Click here for a list of branches.)


Think a little bit more about the future

If you’re not into the last post’s leather goods, try these vegan “leather” notebook covers by Aireescreates, which function similarly to the Traveler’s Company Notebooks (f.k.a. Midori), just without the leather. These covers, made from sustainably-made abaca plant fibers, come in a wide variety of sizes, colors, and even designs.

If you write in longhand a lot, fountain pens at a lower price point (think Pilot Metropolitans or Pilot Kakunos) can decrease your plastic and ink consumption. There are many affordable options available in shops like National Bookstore or online. If you’re not ready to take the plunge with fountain pens just yet, you can always go the refillable pen route.


Spruce up your office space

Unlike students who spend most of their time at school, you can attempt to spruce up your office (or home office) space with “hand-crafted concrete, wood, & metal products” by Joshua Ignacio. Find everything from concrete planters, understated storage pieces, stools, and unconventional lighting fixtures.


For the digital nomad who’s always on-the-go, upgrade your wares to beautiful and minimal leathercraft items — from camera straps to passport holders, cuffs, keychains, and coin purses — by Comrade Leather Goods.


Then, there are plants. If you don’t have time to visit the Manila Seedling Bank or Quezon Memorial Circle where many plant vendors have set shop, or if you just prefer your plants picked and already styled, there are a lot of online shops that can aid you in your quest to become a plant parent. Check out Shop.TillyPH, Ere, Mr and Mrs A, and Space Garden Plants.