Ten Things I’m Thankful For

♡ finishing four new books in the past month

♡ getting to write for the future of young pinays campaign by edukasyon.ph x investing in women

♡ having my aura read by a complete stranger

lots of new music

♡ catching up with friends—impromptu and otherwise

♡ crying over broadway musicals (#wicked15 and that brilliant boy who sang with sara bareilles for waitress)

♡ being one of the real girls featured in this year’s preview beauty awards

♡ snagging a few things on sale

♡ catching call me by your name accompanied by the manila symphony orchestra

♡ packing for a trip I booked  8 months ago

Currently / October 2018

Formerly a weekly themed post I adapted from That’s Chic, this is a list of my favorite things for the month.

Music Monday

I’m definitely a sucker for throwback playlists and when this popped up on my Twitter feed, I spent the next hour bobbing my head to it. People who don’t know me that well are surprised I used to be one of those people who spent Fridays and weekends “in da club.” For someone who doesn’t even really drink alcohol, I spent a good chunk of my college years in bars because I loved dancing. Now all the dancing I do is in the bathroom or in my room. LOL.

Tasty Tuesday

Pumpkin Bread

I follow a bunch of food accounts on Instagram, so I get the most random cooking prompts. This month, I made some pumpkin bread out of a boxed soup mix (it wasn’t seasoned with herbs or anything, so I figured it would work). I was worried the soup would go bad so when Bon Appetit regrammed a photo of someone who tried their recipe for Pumpkin Bread with Maple Butter, I got to work. The loaf came out a bit underbaked (could have probably used an extra 10-15 minutes in the oven), but we finished it before the weekend, so I think it’s fine.

Got a job next month that requires me to test a recipe for a cake I’ve never made before, so I’m excited about that. Hopefully I get it right the first time.

Wishful Wednesday

Full Moon in Taurus with Practical Magic Starter Deck

For the full moon in Taurus, I did my usual tarot spread but this time I didn’t pick a specific part of my life for each card. I set a general insight for each based on the questions by Ethony (Chinggay sends this to me and Ines—our tarot support group—twice a month) and came out with a list to guide me through the next month.

It’s Scorpio season, which means I’m turning another year older soon. I like to think of my birthday as my New Year, a chance to make new resolutions, hatch new plans, and conquer undiscovered dreams. I’ll turn 36 on a plane and wake up in a new city I can’t wait to explore. Will tell you all about it when I’m back.

Thoughtful Thursday

I’m reading This Could Hurt by Jillian Medoff, about this company called Ellery and its HR department. I initially downloaded this because of the pretty cover, but now that I’m deep into it, it’s giving me major Summit flashbacks. It’s interesting to look at it from a different side and it makes me wonder if it’s close to what happens in real life.

Fashion Friday

I’m a sucker for espadrilles and abaca things, so I finally caved in and got myself a pair of Padma mules from munimuni. Was casually scrolling through my Instagram feed when their post popped up and they were promoting free shipping. I mean, how could I ignore it, right? I love it so much and keep praying it doesn’t rain every time I wear it out, which is almost all the time now.

Muni Muni Studio Padma Mules and Frames from Ideal Vision

Then, I ended up dragging my best friend to the Ideal Vision sale to peep the 32-peso (I couldn’t believe it when I saw someone post her pairs online) frames. TBH, I’ve been wanting gold frames ever since watching Maniac on Netflix and obsessing over Sonoya Mizuno’s Dr. Azumi Fujita. I ended up getting a P700 Ralph Lauren gold pair plus one P32 vintage frame in matte copper that reminds me of my very first pair of glasses. Took me a while to find a pair that didn’t have any scuffs and scratches, but it was worth it. Got my eyes checked (yay, my grade didn’t go up in the past year) and had some multi-coated lenses installed (only waited 30 minutes!). Hopefully I remember to wear them regularly.

And just like that, we’re down to the last two months of 2018. How crazy is that?

Things I Will Never Apologize For. And Neither Should You.

As I’m nearing the end of my mid-30s (I will officially be in my late-ish 30s next month), I’m finding that there are still many, many things I could care less about. I recently shared an old The Everygirl article about things that get better after 30 and had a couple of people reply about how liberating it is to not care about what other people think of you slash think what you should be doing. I couldn’t agree more, but I didn’t wake up one day and immediately stop caring. I think it was a slow and careful process to get to this point—and I know I’m not completely disconnected from people’s opinion of me just yet.

So, I figured I’d put together a list of things I know some people (including myself, on at least one occasion) judge other people for and think you should continue doing and not give a shit about what people say about it. Life is too short to edit yourself just so no one else will rag on you. I mean, let them worry about their own lives, right?

I will take a million selfies and I’ll post them (or not). When did it become a crime to take a photo of yourself? I think it’s normal. Who cares if it’s a teensy bit narcissistic? I mean is it wrong to like how you look in a certain light or in a certain angle? And if you don’t like taking selfies, well, nobody is forcing you to take them. Plus, you are more than welcome to mute/unfollow me if you don’t like seeing those things on your feed. I swear, it’s fine.

Laugh out loud. Sure, there are days when I’ll giggle in secret and talk in my indoor voice, but laughing with all that I’ve got is pretty awesome, too.

Find out about a bad movie and watch it anyway. I’ve been warned. I know what I’m getting into. So, it’s completely my fault for wasting my own time. Haha!

I’ll put on makeup when I want to and skip it when I feel like it. We’re always trying to make people feel bad about their choices. Not enough skin care, too much makeup, or even both. But it’s all a matter of preference, right? I mean, when I wake up to good skin, of course I’ll skip everything but moisturizer and bask in it. But does it make me high maintenance to spend a few more minutes on blending out my eye makeup, perfecting my winged liner, and figuring out how the heck to contour my cheeks? So what if it does. I enjoy it and I’d like to think I look good after those extra 15 minutes in front of the mirror.

Take photos of my food. It’s not even so I can post it on Instagram stories. Sometimes, I just like recording what I consume. Sometimes I look at them as reference for illustrations or they serve as a makeshift catalog of food I enjoyed. Sorry in advance if we’re sharing a plate and you’re embarrassed when I stand up to take a top shot of our spread. LOL!

Shamelessly self-promote. Because my #1 fan is myself and when I’m proud of something I worked on, you best believe I shall broadcast it everywhere. You can choose not to click it, anyway. So.

Pull tarot cards and read my horoscope. As long as it makes me feel good about life, I shall continue doing it. I like that tarot cards have been a way for me to make sense of all that goes on in my head and that certain horoscopes remind me that things will turn out fine. You don’t have to believe it, but I do. (:

This isn’t even all of it, but I’m pretty sure you also have a similar list. I guess what I’m just trying to say here (if it weren’t clear enough) is if you’re not hurting anyone and it makes you happy, you shouldn’t be sorry about doing something. You don’t need to explain your reasons and no one should make you feel bad for it!

And in the most awkward segue, speaking of my 30s, I guested with Chinggay on our friend and fellow Future Media Empire cohort Patty‘s podcast. We talk about being single in our 30s and being fine (or on the way to fine, anyway). Give it a listen if you want to!

Ten Things I’m Thankful For

♡ making progress on a project we’ve been working on since late may

♡ spending time away from the city with friends I can talk to for hours on end

♡ finishing a good tv series (so far, really liked: atypical season 2 and american vandal seasons 1 and 2)

♡ finally releasing our newsletter into the wild (subscribe if you want to read more from us!)

♡ discovering the beauty of shampoo bars (fun fact: I was documenting my progress on instagram stories when I got assigned to write this story, haha)

♡ snagging a planner for 2019 (plus hanging out with my colleague-turned-friend who is equally obsessed with paper things as I am)

♡ getting a haircut and enjoying my once-every-three-months blow-dried locks

♡ finding new books and finishing a good read

♡ getting a fun gig getting handsy with desserts (p.s. the yummy youtube channel just hit 100k subscribers—go check it out and congratulate them!)

♡ finally visiting my brother’s new home and getting the grand tour by my favorite not-so tiny human ♥

What are you thankful for today?

A Year of (Un)learning

words from mae’s “Our Love is a Painted Picture”

A year ago, today, I left my 12-year job in digital publishing, where I was working for a website I considered my life’s work. I lived and breathed our website for the better part of that decade. That meant the brand was basically my lifeblood.

When I was suddenly without a job, I felt lost. Spending 10 to 12-hour days immersed in my work, my life became all about the job. I identified as an editor and I slowly forgot anything outside of it. I don’t think I did it consciously, but it happened.

The past year has been a year of learning and unlearning for me. Weeks of debating with myself if I enjoyed something because I was really interested in it, or if I was conditioned to because I was exposed to it all these years. I questioned whether I was really good at what I did, if I had anything else to offer. I wondered if I genuinely loved what I did or if I had grown accustomed to it because it was all I ever had to do.

I suppose when you devote an inordinate amount of time and effort to something, you begin to lose yourself in it a little bit.

I suppose when you devote an inordinate amount of time and effort to something, you begin to lose yourself in it a little bit. There’s nothing wrong with that—I don’t regret those 12 years. I am who I am now precisely because I put in the work all those years. I accept all that came out of it—good, bad, and everything in between.

I learned to value myself and the people around me. I discovered that more than what other people have to say, what’s important is why you’re doing what you do. Just like anyone else, I crave affirmation and recognition. That’s normal, but I don’t need it to move forward. When you lose your sense of self, it’s easier to look to other people for a sign that you’re doing a good job. If they approve of you, then maybe you’re on the correct path, right? More often than not, you’ll realize that you know yourself better than anyone else. While it’s nice to be acknowledged by others, isn’t it better when you make your choices based on what you want and not because it’s what everyone else expects of you?

I’m putting in the work for myself this time.

This year, I started writing in my journal again. I wrote for myself. I pitched stories and got published in places I didn’t think I would ever see my byline. I baked more. I learned how to cook. I’ve been reading books again. I’m getting creative again, dusting off my watercolor, my nibs and ink, my paper and notebooks. I started projects with friends because I want to, not because I have to. I’m putting in the work for myself this time. It has been a fulfilling year.

There are days when I think about how broken I felt a year ago. But when I count down all the days and all the things I’ve discovered about myself and the world around me since then, I’m glad I took time to piece everything together again. I’m still in the process of figuring out who I am and what I want to do. And I’m not worried if I still don’t know for sure what that is yet. Isn’t it comforting to know that we’re all still finding out for ourselves, too?

Currently / September 2018

Formerly a weekly themed post I adapted from That’s Chic, this is a list of my favorite things for the month.

Music Monday

I’m a big rom-com fan and I’m actually surprised I have not seen Serendipity in its entirety until this month. I only remember seeing the elevator scene once on HBO. I thought Nick Drake’s “Northern Sky” playing at the very end was just perfect. It definitely made me feel all warm and fuzzy way after the credits finished. It got me thinking about those songs that perfectly punctuate a movie scene. I put together a playlist of those songs. What would you put on the list?

 

Tasty Tuesday

La Chinesca Tacos

Finally got to try La Chinesca at The Grid in Powerplant. Had the Campechano (hanging tender, chorizo, Swiss cheese, potato, onion) and Chicharron (crispy pork, chicharron, salsa fresca, onion). Both come with cilantro, but I’m not a fan so I had them remove it. Shared an order of Guacamole (Mexican avocado, onion, lime, chile, cilantro, togarashi, tostadas) with Mimi, too. Woke up the next morning still thinking of the Chicharron taco. Loved the soft tortilla it was served on. Reminds me of Tortillos!

Wishful Wednesday

It has officially been 9 months since I’ve gone freelance full-time and I feel it. It may seem like freelancers have it easy since they don’t have to come in and report to an office on a daily basis, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Since you need to take on different jobs depending on how much you want to earn in a month, there are days when the deadlines don’t seem to end. I’m still adjusting and learning how to manage my time wisely (aka spend less time binging shows on Netflix, haha). But on days when I do get to slow down, I try to draw, paint, or write on my journal. Here’s hoping for more days like that.

Thoughtful Thursday

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A few years ago, I was suffering from a particularly acute case of imposter syndrome and told a podcast interviewer that I didn’t have any work experience. ⁣ ⁣ Guess what happened? The headline to that interviewer’s story was “Work Advice From A Creative Director with Zero Work Experience” and now in almost every interview, people ask me about my lack of experience (despite the fact that I have been working in arts & media for 20 years). It’s haunted me. ⁣ ⁣ That incident taught me so much. First, that there’s a difference between being humble and being self-deprecating. Second, that while it’s ok to be vulnerable and speak honestly about self doubt, it’s damaging to let these nagging thoughts turn into “facts” that fog the truth. Last, that in a world that often tears us down, our job is to build ourselves up. ⁣ ⁣ The words you speak about yourself become the reality you live in… choose them wisely. Give yourself credit. Acknowledge what you have achieved. Speak about yourself as an admiring friend would. Erect your dream house. 🏡 ⁣ 🎨 @subliming.jpg #hafiz #livewithheart

A post shared by Piera Gelardi (@pieraluisa) on

Everything in Piera Gelardi’s caption resonates with me. Sharing it here in case any of you need these words.

Fashion Friday

Macy Alcaraz shampoo bar

So I started using a shampoo bar. I’m honestly not sold on it yet, but there has been a huge improvement from Day 1. When I first used it, the bar wouldn’t lather up and I just kept rubbing it on my hair. I don’t think I rinsed it out enough, so I ended up with really waxy roots. Now on Day 6, my hair doesn’t feel greasy anymore and my locks feel soft to the touch. I also love how my waves are defined but not frizzy. I really hope my hair fully adjusts to it, so I can say goodbye to commercial shampoo (and to the plastic bottles they come in).

It’s the first day of the final quarter of 2018. How did that happen so fast?

I Have a History of Oversharing Online

When I was in high school, I had a website where I chronicled my life. From the most mundane details of what I ate for breakfast to what song was playing as I typed up my entry, I felt compelled to share it with the world. I don’t think it even really mattered if anyone was reading it. I just genuinely wanted to share my words.

I met a lot of friends online and we started creating things together. For a few years, I worked on a zine called Binibini, which was started by Yashmine. Hers was the very first website I followed and checked constantly. Every month, we would ask Filipinas like us to write and make art focused on a central theme. I’m sure if you search hard enough, you’ll find some version of it archived on the Wayback Machine. I don’t even remember the things I wrote for it, but I’m sure they were very personal.

These days, you’ll be hard-pressed to find any writing that resembles the things I used to publish on my personal website (or, gasp, my friends-only Livejournal). I don’t know when I stopped oversharing. Maybe when Facebook and Instagram took over the WWW and it seemed like people would judge you if you did? Or maybe it’s when my real-life friends finally joined me online and it wasn’t so strange to be connected all the time anymore.

But for the past few months, I’ve been exchanging messages with my friends Chinggay and Patty, ranging from John Mayer’s Instagram stories to the latest podcast about To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before‘s Noah Centineo. We’ve been working on this newsletter for IDK-how-long anymore. Last night, we decided it was time to share it with the world.

We wrote it so long ago that we couldn’t even remember what we wrote about. It was Chinggay who first sent hers back in June that made me write mine. Then Patty sent in hers and I said, who knew John Mayer would be key to all this oversharing? Honestly, we don’t know where we’re going with this, but we’re happy that we’re creating something together. We’re just letting you listen in on our conversation. (;

My Favorite Brownies Ever

My go-to brownie recipe is by Deb Perelman of Smitten Kitchen, one of my favorite blogs since forever. Through the years, I’ve tweaked the recipe to fit my ingredients on hand. But I think after several tweaks, I’ve found just the right recipe for my favorite brownies ever. For the batch pictured, I used equal amounts of The FreeFood Co.’s Coco Dolcé 65% dark chocolate and Malagos 70% dark chocolate. I’ve also made this with unsweetened Risa Chocolate South Cotabato. I used the same amount of sugar in both cases, and they still turned out just the right amount of sweet.

My Favorite Brownies Ever

This is a tweaked version of Smitten Kitchen's My Favorite Brownies, which is currently my go-to brownie recipe. I love one-bowl recipes!

Course Dessert
Keyword brownies
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 16 squares

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter cut into squares
  • 100 grams dark chocolate chopped finely
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour sifted
  • 1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup pecans coarsely chopped

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350ºF (~177ºC) and line an 8x8-in pan with parchment paper or foil. Spray with non-stick cooking spray.

  2. Place butter and dark chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl. Heat in 30-second intervals, stirring until smooth.

  3. Stir in both sugars and mix until combined.

  4. Add in eggs one at a time, stirring until combined. Add vanilla and mix.

  5. Sift in flour and salt and mix until just combined.

  6. Pour batter into prepared pan and top with chocolate chips and pecans.

  7. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

  8. Cool on a rack and cut into squares.

Best Brownies Ever by Macy's Fields

Best enjoyed straight from the pan or maybe in a bowl with a few scoops of ice cream. Perfect with coffee, too! Let me know if you try it.

Songs I Like: Everything Noah Centineo Dances and Sings Along To Apparently

Let it be known that I am fully aware how ridiculous this obsession has been. And I want to promise this will be the last post about it, but are we really sure? Haha! That said, this playlist was borne out of this afternoon’s procrastination and videos of Peter Kavinsy, I mean, Noah Centineo lip syncing and dancing to 112’s “Dance With Me” and Kanye’s “Flashing Lights.” Both of which I no longer know how many times I’ve watched since I first saw them, because they’re now in a saved section on my Instagram. Guys, I made a collection—it’s the only one there. HAHA! What is happening to me?

Now it has spiraled into everything I’ve seen him post online. It’s only a matter of time now until I speak like a bruh and tweet motivational quotes. SAVE ME FROM MYSELF!

Ten Things I’m Thankful For

♡ one month of peter kavinsky, lol (week 4 going strong, and I have not run out of things to watch or read about noah centineo hahaha)

♡ the thrill of having someone thank you for something you wrote about them—never gets old

♡ feeling kilig about a song, a movie, a story (lots to obsess about this past month!)

♡ getting feedback for the story I’m writing from people whose opinions matter to me

♡ reconnecting with old friends because of mutual obsessions (I have never had this many insta-dms, ever)

♡ finishing 2 more books after going through jenny han’s to all the boys trilogy

♡ my new moon in virgo pulls—this always helps me make sense of my current life situation (and helps me map out my battle plan, too)

♡ current writing assignments: been extra inspired to pitch stuff after this resurgence of feelings~

♡ putting together surprises and celebrating people special to me

♡ all of fall tv season’s previews

A year ago today, I received news that turned my world upside-down. Three hundred sixty-five days later, I’m still standing and I’d like to think I’m stronger than ever.