Fangirl Dreams Do Come True

The thing about chronicling your life online is you’ve got timestamps for just about anything. I know when I started listening to a certain band or when I got to see an artist live for the first time—at least since 1997. So when I tell you that on July 22, 2003, I used “If we don’t have to, we’re not going to” as a subject on one of my Livejournal entries, you’ll have to believe me. I can tell you that I’ve listened to their songs 3,289 times since 2006 (according to Last.fm, at least). And that years later, their words still define important moments in my life.

In 2003, when I was a junior in college, bands like Dashboard Confessional, Jimmy Eat World, Further Seems Forever were on constant repeat on my Winamp (I’m so old). My music was largely influenced by my brothers and my internet friends. I can’t quite recall how I discovered MAE, but I do remember obsessing over their lyrics, putting them on rotation in my ICQ info and eventually as my YM status. I would usually find music on people’s LJ entries (“Now playing:”) and download them on Napster/Kazaa/Audiogalaxy to find out if I liked it. And then I’d incorporate them into layouts back when I redesigned my website every month or so.

with mae's jacob marshall
With MAE’s drummer Jacob Marshall at the MTV presscon for the benefit show for Ondoy.

In 2008, I put up a shortlist of acts I wanted to see live. (Funnily enough, I didn’t care to watch U2 even if I had extreme FOMO with friends flying out to see them. And I didn’t watch Madonna either. I guess you can not watch them after all.) One of the bands on that list was MAE. I was surprised when they were announced as one of the front acts for the Katy Perry concert that turned into a benefit show for Ondoy. My friends and I had already bought tickets for the show not knowing this (they had no clue who this band was, hehe). To me, it felt like a gift from the Universe (the concert was scheduled 5 days after my 27th birthday. I remember being so excited even if they were only going to play 5 songs. And then of course, my nightmare happened. I missed all but 1 and a half songs from their set. I recall locking myself in my room and cried because I thought I would never get to watch them again. It was such a wasted opportunity. To this day, the friends I watched the Katy Perry concert with still remember how my face fell as we slowly inched our way to the concert grounds and I heard the familiar sound of their music. They didn’t know what to do. Haha, of course we just laugh about it now.

dave elkin's autograph from his 2013 show
Dave signed my card with The Everglow’s lyrics in calligraphy at his 2013 show.

Eventually, I moved on and forgot about it. Until 4 years later, a friend who worked at a music publication told me that they were bringing in MAE’s vocalist Dave Elkins for a small show in Manila. I didn’t know anyone I could ask to watch with me (why am I not friends with more MAE fans?!), so I bought a ticket fully committed to seeing the show by myself. I found Frances at the venue and she let me sit with her and her friend. This time around, it was a week after I turned 31 that I got to listen and sing along to my favorite songs with fellow MAE fans in Hard Rock Cafe. I got into a cab at 2 in the morning scared to death but so happy that I got to watch the show. It was easily one of my favorite shows I’ve ever seen. I felt like I would’ve belonged anyway even if I was alone.

mae's dave elkins signing my card
Dave signing my card with The Everglow’s lyrics in calligraphy

Fast forward to last September, when another friend tagged me on the announcement for a MAE show happening in December. Not even a day later, my brother messages me to say that he got me tickets to the show. I couldn’t believe my luck. And as you may already know from my obsessive posts, he also got me a slot for the meet and greet the night before the show. My friend Hanna who was originally my plus one (we have a history of fangirling over so many people and things, so naturally, she was the obvious choice) suddenly couldn’t make it because of a prior commitment. I even asked a couple of the only MAE fans I knew if they wanted to watch with me, but they understandably already had other plans. So I posted on Instagram to ask who had plans to watch them. At the end of the day, I figured, maybe I can just watch the show alone. Then, Pinky replied to ask what was happening that weekend. Long story short, internet friends are the best and we ended up fangirling over MAE this entire weekend.

my mae weekend
My #maenila weekend. (middle photo in bottom row courtesy of Red Ninja Production)

It didn’t really sink in until me and my sweaty bangs were inside a dark Route 196 on a Friday evening with fellow fans and they were right in front of us. Right before they arrived, the people from Red Ninja Production (who were responsible for bringing them to Manila in the first place) asked us to write our song requests on pieces of paper that the band would pick out from a hat. My only choice was “Tisbury Lane,” of course and I wrote “Suspension,” too because that was Pinky’s choice. At the first strains of the guitar, we let out a tiny “yay” as they started to play the intro to my favorite song. After a few songs, we lined up to get our posters signed and have a few minutes to talk to the band. I had saved a few photos on my phone that I wanted to show them. A screenshot of a Words With Friends game with the band’s drummer Jacob from 10 years ago where I won by 30 points, lol. They had a laugh about that and Dave even commented that I probably had a triple letter-triple word score. I proceeded to tell them how I was there at the Katy Perry show only to miss more than half of their set. I shared how I cried because I had waited so long to hear them sing their songs live. And that I had the chance to redeem myself when I saw Dave’s show in Hard Rock. As I scrolled through my pictures with Jacob and then Dave, I said, “I’m hoping that tonight, I’ll finally get a photo with all three of you.” “We can definitely do that,” they said.

At the MAE show with Pinky
Oldies hanging at the back, so we had a good view plus seats in case we got tired.

Here are a few faves from the meet and greet and show that I managed to take videos of. <3

When they came back to the stage at 123 Block for their encore, Dave said, “Thank you so much from the bottom of our MAE hearts. We will never forget this night, I promise you, and I really hope we don’t have to wait 10 years to come back.” All I have to say is, “same.”

Currently / November 2019

Had a lovely birthday month, spending time with some of my favorite people in the world. There are days when I wish we all had more time to spend with each other—to cancel out hours wasted in traffic, make up for years we’ve lost touch, and never have a reason to turn down an invitation.

Music Monday

My niece is one cool kid. My brother’s band recently came out with a new album and she drew the art for it. I mean this child! Love her so much.

Tasty Tuesday

Made lots of bread this month including eggless brioche buns topped with Everything But the Bagel seasoning, my fave white sandwich bread, and an attempt at homemade Butternut munchkins (my coating needs improvement). Had a winning combo of Arabica’s Spanish Latte with an Orange Milk Chocolate Cookie from Ben’s Cookies before dinner with my high school barkada. Also tried the waffles at Elephant Grounds with a delicious scoop of Hazelnut ice cream. 100% would come back for it with a side of fries, lol.

Wishful Wednesday

Boracay with Laika

My best friend Laika and I have the kind of friendship that is quite low-maintenance. She has 3 kids, so I know she’s got a lot on her plate. We rarely see each other but when we do, we always pick up right where we left off. We know when someone is going through something difficult even without saying anything. I’ve known her for 3 decades now and we finally got the chance to go on our first trip together. It was a quick trip to the beach where I only wanted to eat and sit by the shore. I knew it would be a welcome break for her, too.

The past 2 years have been a learning experience for me. The longer I go along this path, I realize that everything that has happened was meant to happen. I’ve always been the glass half-full kind of girl and though this year was a particularly tough one, there were so many magical things to remember, too. I still get sad at the thought of spending Christmas without my dad (and my Kuya‘s family) this year. But like many years before, I know my wish for a meaningful Christmas and fulfilling New Year will always be something that will come true. Traditions change and stay the same as long as you need them to.

Thoughtful Thursday

Practical Magic Birthday Reading

I started getting my annual birthday reading in 2017 with Practical Magic. And every year since, I’ve constantly been enlightened after the cards have been pulled. I always get the Death card, but this year, it seems like I will be done with major changes in my life. And thank goodness for that, because the past 2 years have been nothing but constant endings and beginnings. The great thing about going through life-altering events is that you get into the groove of dealing with loss, grief, and everything between. You learn a lot about how you react to certain things, how you cope, and how you’re able to move forward. There are still some changes afoot but I’m surprisingly very chill about it. I’ve gotten better at going with the flow and trusting that everything will fall into place soon enough.

Fashion Friday

Make Space Today shelf Made by Macy

We’ve moved into the Make Space Today pop-up at SM Aura and we’re there until the end of the year. I never thought I’d ever sell stuff I made but here we are. Thrilled whenever I make a sale and even more when my friends say they’d love to buy something from my shelf. My newest wares are a ginkgo leaf jewelry dish and a confetti platito. There are some Dandy Ona x Prima hair clips and Hey Kessy Jewelry clay earrings available in limited quantities, too. You can always message me if you want to order something that’s not currently on the shelf.

Made by Macy ginkgo leaf dish

Here’s how you use the jewelry dish. I really wanted to create a dish that had a space for rings, so the ginkgo leaf was the perfect shape for what was in my head. Still experimenting with glazes (this one was supposed to be pink, but as you can see, they turned out white haha) and thinking of other things I can create. What would you love to see on my shelf? Pop by the 3L of SM Aura to snag any of my stuff until the end of the month. It’s a great shopping spot for holiday gifts if you’re looking for things for family and friends. Will be eternally grateful for the support.

And just like that, we’re at the beginning of the end. First week of the last month of the year. Of the decade. How are you spending it?

Photo Diary: Taipei Throwback

I never got around to finishing Part 2 of my Taiwan photo diary from last year. But since I recently wrote a 24-hour guide to Taipei for SPOT.ph, I thought this would be a good time to revisit that trip.

What We Ate

Lots of good eats in Taipei

When we planned to go to Taipei, I was mostly excited to eat. I heard wonderful things about the food from people who have traveled to Taiwan. A few things that stood out for me (and I still wish I could go back for) are in this photo.

The iced Sea Salt Coffee from 85°C Bakery Cafe was so good. There was a branch near our hotel, so we got to go back for seconds.

We had xiao long bao from a stall at the Raohe St. Night Market. We headed here just as it was opening, so stalls were just opening up and there were barely any lines. We made sure to get hu jiao bing or black pepper pork bun from the stall by the entrance. By the time we left, the line was snaking past the entrance already.

Winner who provided our car service recommended Fu Hong Beef Noodle as it was just a couple of minutes away from where we were staying. There was a big bowl of orange stuff on the table and we weren’t sure what to do with it at first. It turned out to be tallow or rendered beef fat. LOL! You stir some into your soup.

And finally, Mimi said we couldn’t miss the Mala Hotpot experience when we’re in Taiwan. So, that’s what we had for lunch on my birthday. Two hours eating everything we could and saving room for dessert because it is EAT-ALL-YOU-CAN Movenpick and Häagen-Dazs ice cream! I had 10 scoops. HAHA!

Dihua Street

Kawaii finds from an Eslite branch plus tea obsession at Dihua Street

Patty took us to Dihua Street in the Datong District, where she had previously stayed. It’s a bit old school with buildings dating back to mid-19th century Taipei. Of course we got sucked into this pretty tea store called Dae by Day that had beautiful packaging. I ended up taking home some oolong and a caffeine-free quinoa blend for pasalubong and my personal stash. Did I mention this trip turned me into a tea drinker?

There was also a store that turned plastic bottles into clothes, pouches, and other cute stuff. A lot of things were on sale, too, so it was very tempting to shop. Ended up just buying a few postcards aside from the tea.

Huashan 1914 Creative Park

An old sake winery that was turned into a creative hub, housing stores that sell handmade and homegrown wares.

We knew we wanted to visit one of the creative parks in Taipei. So on our last day (we had to kill about 12 hours before our flight), we headed to Huashan 1914 Creative Park. It was fun to go in and out of the different buildings in the area and peruse all the goods. It was hard not to buy anything, so we ended up with a few things from here. I enjoyed looking at all the beautiful paper goods, ceramics, and even just the building exteriors. We spent a few good hours here and ended up having a late lunch at one of the cafes that had a hydroponics system inside.

Spectrum Eslite Songyan

There’s an entire floor where you can take a workshop and come home with whatever you made.

Songshan Creative and Culture Park was already closed when we got there, but the gorgeous Eslite Spectrum right beside it was still open. My feet were killing me by this time, so I wanted to sit down somewhere. We had a snack before going around the entire mall. At the very top floor, it was handcrafting heaven. There were different areas where you could buy a souvenir and make it yourself. There was a woodworking, pottery, glassblowing, and even jewelry making. Made me want to spend an entire day there. I took photos instead.

All this talk about travel is making me want to go on a vacation. Here’s to saving up for more trips next year!

Ten Things I’m Thankful For

♡ meet-ups with friends—planned or otherwise; wish we had more time in a day, so we could make time for each other
♡ getting a text message about a possible work trip (even if I don’t have a visa and cannot go, lol)
♡ beach trip with my best friend on my birthday
♡ a random photo of my niece pointing to my name on one of her picture books
♡ launching the signorina signet collection with dandy ona
writing again
♡ finishing my platitos and jewelry dishes for our make space today pop-up in sm aura
♡ putting out another newsletter before the year ends
♡ making it to the end of my last work week for short-lived gig
♡ being reminded to focus on the good stuff

Currently / October 2019

It just occurred to me that I should probably title these posts “Previously” rather than “Currently,” huh? But whatevs, it is what it is. Before I welcome my birthday month, here’s a little roundup of my favorites for the month of October.

Music Monday

Their latest episode is perfect for Halloween listening

Not exactly music, but my sister-in-law just launched a podcast with her friends Quark and Ramon called Endslate. If you’re always looking for something new to binge or waiting for a review on the latest movies before heading out to see it, give it a listen. So far, they’ve come out with four episodes already!

Tasty Tuesday

Spot.ph Top 10 Grilled Cheese (2019 Edition) by Macy Alcaraz
Find out what made it to the top spot here

For the entire month of October, I have been eating Grilled Cheese. Three weeks of hopping from one restaurant to another to come up with my first Top 10 list. I told the editor who assigned me that I was scared of the comments before accepting the assignment. My friend Chinggay, who has done so many Top 10s already told me she never reads the comments. Haha! That said, I’m sure so many people will wonder why some restaurants didn’t make it. Well, they didn’t taste good. To me (and the photographer), anyway. I know taste is such a subjective thing, so I don’t think we will ever agree on a universal Top 10. Amirite? That said, I think I shall stay away from Grilled Cheese for the next month.

Wishful Wednesday

Confetti Platito
Confetti Platito coming soon to the Make Space Today pop-up

While I’ve recently renewed a freelance contract for my editorial work for SPOTJapan (please visit!), I’ve been exploring the retail aspect of my love for crafts. For the past 3 months, I’ve maintained a shelf space at Make Space Today. At first, I only had my Dandy Ona x Prima hair clips on display. Then, I created some leafy catch-alls after being obsessed with ginkgo leaves. I wanted a jewelry dish that had a space for rings so the stem was perfect. I made this Confetti Platito a few months ago, and decided to create some to sell. It took me a total of maybe 12 hours to create them (not even counting the two rounds of firing), so I was thrilled to get responses to my Instagram Stories that people were interested to buy them.

The Make Space Today pop-up opens in SM Aura in a couple of days, and I’m getting anxious about stocking my shelf. I’m also trying to secure pieces for my display to make my products a little more appealing to shoppers, haha. Glad my friends at MST are very generous with shop tips, so I’m hoping to apply all their comments when we ingress before my birthday weekend. Here’s hoping people like my new stuff and that I can sustain my stock until the end of the year!

Thoughtful Thursday

Ang Iyong Gabay Oracle Deck by Mikko Sumulong
New Oracle Deck by Mikko Sumulong

My friend Mikko just came out with a gorgeous new oracle deck and it’s available for pre-order. Love that Ang Iyong Gabay uses our beautiful Filipino words.

This was actually my second pull. My first one was the word “takas.” Haha! I love that the words can have multiple meanings, depending on your current situation or head space.

It’s no secret that I’ve been struggling the past couple of weeks with a new work thing, but I finally told my bosses that I’d only be finishing the remainder of the contract. Felt so relieved after and I no longer dread opening my computer anymore.

Two years coming into this whole freelance life and I’m still learning what works for me—and what doesn’t. I constantly also remind myself not to rush into things, so I don’t end up regretting my decisions. But like any other experience, I just try to learn as much as I can, so I still take away something positive from it.

Fashion Friday

The Miranda in rose gold, Remedios in yellow gold, and Julieta in silver

We shot my signet ring collection a couple of weeks ago and I’m excited to see and share the final photos. We asked Mich, our former intern for Candymag.com, to shoot the collection. When I see our interns and Candymag.com Correspondents thriving in the wild, I get some sense of pride like a mama. LOL! Also, it makes me feel really old. Haha!

That said, we’re launching these rings at Hey Kessy on November 16 at 2pm along with brand new designs from Wiji Lacsamana and Mansy Abesamis. See you all there!

What I’ve Been Using Lately in Skin and Hair Care

The Ouai Wave Spray Sunday Riley CEO Thank You Farmer Huxley
My recent beauty haul

Apart from my shampoo bars and bar soaps, here are some of the skin and hair care products I’ve purchased. I’ve been trying not to hoard beauty products lately, but after my recent acquisitions, I decided to take advantage of the sunlight that peeks through my curtains and do a mini shoot.

Some of these I’ve already been using between two weeks and a month or so, and some I have yet to incorporate into my routine (was debating on whether to put this under Life Lately or Favorites because of this, haha). I figured I’d talk about them, anyway.

Ouai Wave Spray

The Ouai Wave Spray
Ouai Wave Spray

Let’s start with the only hair care product in this skin and hair care haul. This was part of a trio of travel-sized products I purchased in Sephora when we had a bit of free time in Singapore after a cruise I went on for work. I have a small collection of wave sprays, and I thought the travel-friendly package would be a good addition.

I’ve used this a couple of times since I got it and I love that it creates that beachy texture (the one you get when you’re actually by the ocean) without weighing down your hair. That said, I noticed my hair has gotten straighter since I started using shampoo bars, so it’s not as wavy as it usually is. If I spray this onto damp hair though and twisting my locks while my hair air dries, I do get some semblance of beach waves.

Sunday Riley C.E.O. Cream

CEO Rich Hydrating Cream
Sunday Riley C.E.O. Cream

Another travel-sized purchase from Sephora. I’ve always wanted to try Sunday Riley, but the price tag usually makes me step back from the display. I figured this wouldn’t be such a splurge and if I end up not liking it, I won’t feel too bad about it.

I have yet to try it but I’ve been loving products with Vitamin C lately (Aesop’s Lucent Facial Concentrate is my current jam), so I’m hoping this will be a welcome addition. I’ll probably pack this when in my kit when I’m traveling (just booked my birthday trip!).

The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%

The Ordinary Niacinamide + Zinc
The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%

This was from my small Beauty MNL loot when they went on sale. I really loved Glossier’s Super Pure serum (purchased it twice and then they went out of stock), so I was looking for alternatives until I saw that The Ordinary had a similar serum. I’m currently testing out some serums for work though, so I haven’t had the chance to use this yet. Plus, the Lucent Facial Concentrate also has niacinamide, anyway. Will report back once I’ve opened this.

Thank You Farmer Back to Pure Daily Foaming Gel Cleanser

Thank You Farmer Back to Pure Daily Cleanser
Thank You Farmer Back to Pure Daily Foaming Gel Cleanser

Full disclosure: I got this sample to test because I’m currently freelancing for the company that distributes the brand. I’ve been using this as my second cleanse in my nighttime routine for about a month or so now.

I use Glossier’s Milky Jelly Cleanser in the morning, so I wanted to try using this at night. So far I haven’t gotten any breakouts from it and it hasn’t dried out my skin either. The fragrance is a bit stronger than Glossier although it doesn’t really bother me. I imagine though that people who are sensitive to fragrances might not like it. Unlike the Milky Jelly Cleanser, this one lathers up into micro foam. I still use a cleansing oil to remove my makeup but this does the job for light makeup.

Would I purchase it? Maybe if I ran out of my go-to gel cleanser. It’s a bit pricey but it is paraben-free and sulfate-free.

Huxley Secret of Sahara Toner: Extract It

Huxley Secret of Sahara
Huxley Secret of Sahara Toner: Extract It

This was also part of my Beauty MNL sale purchase. I was looking for a new toner because I finished the Kiehl’s Calendula Herbal Extract Toner. I’ve been meaning to open this already, but I’m still finishing the last of my Bare Essentials Primer Water from Althea. Planning to transfer it into an atomizer so I can spritz it on and not waste any product.

Thank You Farmer True Water Deep Emulsion

Thank You Farmer True Water Deep Emulsion
Thank You Farmer True Water Deep Emulsion

Again, something I got because of my current freelance work. This True Water line is really meant for hydration. I’ve got combination skin (my T-Zone usually gets oily while the rest of my face can go between normal to dry on any given occasion), so I thought it would be okay to use this. The brand is formulated so that it can be used on sensitive skin. Like the cleanser, though, this has a faint fragrance. I’m not sure about other people’s preferences, but I like my skin care products to smell good especially the ones I’m using at night. Makes me feel like I’m indulging in a spa treatment except in my own bathroom.

Really love the pump dispenser because you don’t end up squeezing out too much product. Plus, you don’t contaminate the rest of the product with your fingers. I imagine it would work best with the Deep Serum from the same line but so far, it also works with the serums I have on rotation.

What are your recent purchases in skin and hair care? I don’t claim to be an expert on these things, but I do enjoy the process of a routine. Would love to discover new brands and products to try!

Currently / September 2019

It’s a little crazy how this year is whizzing by. How is it already October? I could have sworn it just turned September. Blink and it’ll be November in no time. Wild!

I’m fresh from a cruise (my first time!) which I have to write about for work. The start of the month also means doing reports for the past month, so I’ve got some PowerPoint decks ahead of me. Got to get a ton of writing done today, but had to do my monthly round-up first.

Music Monday

Mandy Moore’s career is flourishing. From This Is Us to new music, I’m so thrilled to have somehow grown up with her from days of Candy (literally!) to following her home renovation (quite obsessively, might I add) and her wedding (that pink dress!). Love that she’s putting out music, especially after that nightmare with her former husband.

Also, in dream music news. One of my favorite bands ever is coming to Manila in December! I promise I will be at the venue early and won’t miss one single song. LOL!

Tasty Tuesday

Finally found a white sandwich bread recipe that doesn’t dry out immediately 2 days after baking. I cut the recipe in half so I only bake one loaf since it lasts us about a week. I’ve already made it twice this month.

Wishful Wednesday

Signet rings for Dandy Ona Jewelry
Signorina: a delicate signet ring collection designed exclusively for Dandy Ona Jewelry

It was about a year and a half ago when we released the Dandy Ona x Prima hair clips. Before that, I had never designed jewelry apart from the first custom ring I had done by Dandy Ona Jewelry for myself. And here we are with a brand new collection.

I’ve been obsessing about signet rings but always thought they were a little too clunky and huge for my hands. As you can already tell, I’m always drawn to dainty and delicate things, which explains why the signet rings I’ve designed look the way they do.

For this collection, I wanted to pay tribute to three important ladies in my life. My two lolas and my niece. You can currently pre-order the Remedios, Julieta, and Miranda by sending your ring size and choice of gold (you can choose from yellow, white, and rose; the rings are silver dipped in gold) to Dandy Ona Jewelry’s Instagram.

Wishing for more thoughtful and intentional projects like this one.

Thoughtful Thursday

“Just like old times”

Someone once asked me about forgiveness and grudges and how you decide which people you cut off from your life completely. I didn’t have an answer. I guess life just has a funny way of steering you in a certain direction and it’s up to you whether you’ll fight it or trust that you’re allowing good energy to flow back into your life.

Fashion Friday

Designs by Marie Luna Top
Modern Maria

Picked up this Luna top at the Katutubo Popup two weekends ago. Been trying to invest in well-made local brands lately and I hope they’ll last me a long time. There’s another one in two weeks and I’m already scared for my wallet. Haha!

October, here we go.

Ten Things I’m Thankful For

It’s kind of crazy how we’re already at the tail-end of the year. How is it already the -ber months? Next thing you know, we’re already listing down New Year’s resolutions.

Just wanted to take a quick break to write down all the little things I’ve been thankful for these past couple of weeks.

♡ mornings making a cup of coffee—slowing down my morning routine has really helped me not be frantic about the things on my to-do list
this newsletter and our future media empire. we don’t dictate a schedule, and really just put out something when we feel like it, but I’m always excited to write and lay it all out. plus, chinggay and patty are probably the only two people I talk to on like a million different platforms and we never run out of anything to talk about or send to each other, haha!
♡ finding a book that reminds you of what life was like 2 decades ago
♡ small wins at work like discovering what creator studio is all about and finally being able to schedule Instagram posts through Facebook—what a lifesaver!
♡ seeing the samples of something I’ve been working with Dandy Ona Jewelry (: I’ve been wearing them since I got them over the weekend and I can’t stop staring at them! more about it this week…
♡ launching 4 different brand accounts and not losing my mind (well, barely, but I survived and that’s what counts haha)
♡ being there for friends in painful, heartbreaking moments—realizing that everyone has problems and nothing is ever too big or too small. gives you much-needed perspective.
♡ a good haircut (does wonders more than we care to admit)
♡ reconnecting with old friends and finding that though relationships rarely ever stay the same, it doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing
♡ the prospect of traveling again for work—always grateful for the opportunity

Currently / August 2019

Music Monday

Is it even a surprise what my most played album is? I’m so happy Taylor Swift is back.

My Top 3 so far: Paper Rings, Death by a Thousand Cuts, Soon You’ll Get Better

Tasty Tuesday

Haven’t been taking photos of things I’ve been eating but judging from the amount of food currently in my camera roll, I have clearly been eating out a lot. Also, I’ve given so much of my money to Wildflour/Little Flour, haha! Also finally tried Ben’s Cookies (there was no line!), and is it just me or are they smaller here? I remember closing my eyes when I bit into one when I first tried it in Singapore. My friend got a really dry white chocolate macadamia one. Sadface. But had my favorite Pizza Morena on the same day, so all’s well. Stayed in one night at Mikko’s condo and we had Drive-By Taco Shop, which apparently has a branch in Eastwood. Had the white adobo soft tacos and they were yum.

Made some big, fat pretzels on a random day. Made cookies at home and with my niece—who left me after scooping out the first batch. “Can you just call me when they’re finished?” My brother brought home some Marou dark chocolate, so I whipped up some of my favorite brownies. We still have 4 bars, so I’m wondering what else I can make with them. Maybe BA’s best chocolate chip cookies?

Wishful Wednesday

Started a new gig this week and it’s kicking my ass. Honestly, I think I bit off more than I can chew , but I’m just going to suck it up and follow through. That said, I must remember to never get pressured or rush into anything without asking ALL OF THE QUESTIONS, then figuring out if the work is commensurate to the compensation. Still learning, clearly. Here’s hoping I survive the next couple of months!

Thoughtful Thursday

This was a very emotional piece for me. I spent an entire night crying, reading all of the messages my family and friends sent after they read it. It was also the first time random strangers went out of their way to tell me how something I wrote moved them. Funny how something painful can actually bring out something beautiful. Thank you to Tricia and Pierra for letting me share my story. And thank you to you, if you shared in my grief, too. We’re going to be okay.

Fashion Friday

Crushing on IDLF for Uniqlo as always. I want this coat!

The Complexities of Female Friendships

I was in first grade when two of my friends started talking about this girl they didn’t like. They called her “Apple.” It was their not-so subtle way of telling me they were not a fan of certain behaviors. They hated she was bossy. They thought she was mayabang. Every little thing they said about Apple sounded awful. It wasn’t long after until I realized that they were talking about “Apple” but, really, they were talking about me.

I’m not sure how this was resolved then, or if I ever confronted them about it. Now I can laugh about it and roll my eyes at the pettiness. But the fact that I can remember it in detail years after means that it left some sort of impression on me. I became quite conscious of how other people saw me, and how my actions reflected on them.

It was around that time, too, when my classmates would just stop talking to me because they felt like it. They made a habit of pretending not to be friends with people just for the sake of it. The next day, they’d pick on someone else and they’d be friends with me again. People called me iyakin back then because I’d always be crying in school. I always thought it was unfair that I wasn’t part of this “game” they were playing, but did I really want to make someone feel bad just for the heck of it? Maybe more than anything, I just wanted to be in on the joke. I didn’t want to be the clueless girl, always wondering if my table mates would be talking to me that day.

In high school, we had a “group dialogue” with our guidance counselor as a form of conflict resolution. Whenever there was a misunderstanding, we would schedule a meeting, where we would air out our grievances and have our guidance counselor moderate. Mostly, this was done to skip out on classes, but on the rare occasion, it would somehow mend friendships and help us let out our pent-up aggression. The details of past sessions are a bit fuzzy. The funny ones always come up when my friends get together. Sometimes I wonder, did we ever really resolve anything in that room or were we just wrapping things up, so we could go back to class?

In college, most of my friends were women. I’m quick to connect with them because I’ve always wondered what it would be like to have sisters. And friends, I suppose, are the closest thing I’ll have to that. I only have a handful of friends from then that I still keep in touch with today. There was a time when I fell out of touch with a few of them. I even thought it meant the friendship was over. Tampuhan turned cold war turned forgotten blips of the past.

At work, all my bosses (mostly women) treated me as their friend more than their colleague, so I did the same when I handled my own team. It turned out, sometimes being a boss is difficult when you also try to be friends with your team. I learned the hard way. You’re always trying to be approachable enough, so they don’t feel like they can’t talk to you. But you’re also trying to be authoritative, so that they respect you. When the lines are blurred, when does the personal cross over to work and vice versa? Can you rate someone negatively in their evaluation just because they decided not to invite you to join them for lunch? (The answer is of course not, lol.)

It seems easier to manage relationships as I grow older. I no longer have this need to be liked by everyone. Of course I still think about how other people see me—who doesn’t?—but it doesn’t consume me anymore. After all, what other people think of me is their business. I can’t do anything about that.

I’ve also accepted that there are people in your life that will disappear for different reasons. Maybe if it’s for their well-being—maybe for yours, but I’ve learned that female friendships can’t just be completely black and white. They’re messy and complicated, but also tender and delicate. You’re always learning how far you can push each other until you find that equilibrium of not minding and caring just enough. And sometimes, those people you swore you would cut off forever (or people who swore they would never talk to you again) find their way back into your life again. And you wonder, is this what it means to be friends forever?