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What’s making me happy: A book fair reading list, film photography and high school hobbies

What’s making me happy: A book fair reading list, film photography and high school hobbies


“What’s making us happy” is our weekly list of things we are drooling over or things we bought by impulse or purposefully as of late—anything to distract us from this gloomy quarantine and maddening real world, all the while helping local brands regain footing amid the economic disruption.


For a person who has poor impulse control, I’ve somehow held back at making numerous online purchases since the quarantine began. I’d like to think it’s because I’ve been hoping that this lockdown would be a two-week thing and the whole crisis would just blow over—but it’s been five months now and I need new things to do.

While most of my friends have become home cooks, I found myself leaning more towards my creative side. For the first few months of the quarantine, I tried diamond painting: where you apply tiny resin pieces to an adhesive canvas to make mosaic paintings. I’ve also tried making my bullet journal spreads a bit more colorful.


An overdue reading list

Scouring through online shops for new reads is fun, but nothing beats the thrill of walking through book fairs and finding interesting titles within piles of discounted books. 

One of the book fairs I got to attend before the lockdown began was the Big Bad Wolf book sale in February, where I was able to add on a few more items to my (already lengthy) reading list.

An excerpt from Alexander Masters’ “A Life Discarded”

Some of the books I’ve gotten around to reading are Xiaolu Guo’s “20 Fragments of a Ravenous Youth,” which recounts the life of a young Chinese woman as a film extra in Beijing. There’s also Alexander Masters’ “A Life Discarded,” which pieces together an anonymous diarist’s life through a collection of journals found in the trash.


Film’s not dead

One of my new year’s resolutions was to try documenting more of my life through film photography, and my last pre-quarantine purchase was actually a set of film rolls so I could take photos with friends I haven’t always been able to hang out with—but that was before lockdown and all of our plans were put on the back burner.

Before the quarantine, I found a half-frame camera (these shoot photos at half the size of a standard full-frame camera—meaning you get a lot more shots from a roll of film.) from The Classic Boutique and got rolls of 35mm film from Filmm Store. For anyone who wants to try their hand at film photography, these stores still deliver!

While I haven’t been attending any big parties or special events, I have been trying to take more photos in the (very) rare occasions that I do get to go outside.


Ad-free music, five years in the making 

Most people in my friend group will tell you that their first quarantine purchases were new kitchen appliances or new crafting supplies on Shopee. My first quarantine purchase was a Spotify Premium subscription.

To celebrate, I put together a playlist of songs that I had on repeat during my first few weeks of ad-free music.

I’ve had my Spotify account for about five years now, but I’ve somehow convinced myself that paying for a subscription isn’t worth it when I could get it for free (albeit with ads every thirty minutes or so) and that I owned an iPod where I could save my music on anyway—but that was before my iPod broke down and the lockdown ruined my patience. Anyway.


Back to crochet

One of the things I picked up from my high school Technology and Livelihood Education (TLE) classes was crocheting. I can’t recall when or why I ever fell out of that hobby, but I figured that the quarantine period is a good point in my life to restart being crafty again.

In my search for cheap crochet supplies, I stumbled upon Yarns MNL and Threadline PH—two online shops that offer basic hook sets and colorful balls of yarn at discounted rates. I’ve only had my crochet supplies for only a week, but I’m already working towards stitching a cellphone pouch.


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What’s making me happy: Vintage PE shorts, a robot vacuum and old Swedish plates © 2020. Hinge Inquirer Publications, Inc.