Currently / May 2019

Music Monday

I’ve seen Jason Mraz almost all the times he’s been to Manila (first time I saw him was in 2004 at the Aliw Theater, where I got a photo of his…ear, lol). This time around, it wasn’t until a week or so before the show when Chinggay asked if I still wanted to watch. So on my dad’s and Mira’s birthday, I watched with her and Koko and I’m glad I did. His feel-good vibes will always have me falling in line to catch his concert.

And because of my earlier obsession with everything To All the Boys related, I ended up seeing Lauv in concert this month, too. I couldn’t sing along to most of the songs haha but I was so happy to hear “Paris in the Rain” live because of this single edit.

Tasty Tuesday

The only thing I remember trying this month and absolutely loving is Manam’s Ube Sago drink. Haha! I always get tempted to order it whenever it gets served to a customer at another table. But since I eat so much at Manam (read: no more space in my tummy for drinks other than water), I’ve never really gotten a chance to try it. So when I met up with friends at Ooma in Greenhills, which shares a space with Manam, I ordered it. No regrets! It was delicious and so refreshing on a sweltering afternoon.

Lots of meet-ups with friends this month, though, involved eating. Glad I got to spend some time with friends who were in town, too.

Wishful Wednesday

I recently joined the SpotJapan.ph team as a freelance editor and it’s been a month of getting into a rhythm that works for me. It’s been a while since I handled a website as editor in chief, so it’s almost like starting from scratch. It’s been fun so far, and we’re heading to Japan this week. Ecstatic that I get the chance and I’m excited to travel again. Here’s hoping we have a stress-free trip. Send me all your Fukuoka recos!

Thoughtful Thursday

We’re already almost halfway through 2019. I haven’t written down any goals this quarter. I feel like I’m floating in between phases but a recent impromptu reading by the beach (by my fave Practical Magic) gave me a much-needed jolt. I already know what I’m doing, so I need to set aside my doubts and just push through. Whatever happens, I’ll come out okay in the end.

Fashion Friday

I will forever dream of looking like a Madewell girl. I love looking at their feed and channeling the outfits with what I have in my closet. Couldn’t help myself though when I saw these cute striped Vans slip-ons on their Instagram page. I want to wear them with everything!

Photo Diary: Los Angeles, California Part One

Sharing a few more photos from our spring trip over two months ago. I’ve got a bunch of pictures sitting in my hard drive. And as you may have seen on my Instagram, I’ve been posting a lot of them belatedly.

We spent two weeks mostly in Los Angeles and here are some of our adventures from that time.

I had to visit Glossier and Mansur Gavriel. 😛

My cousin Kookee who used to live in LA was also in town from New York. She took me and my brother Manu around, driving us to our requested spots (well, mostly mine, haha). Before my shopping spree (lol), she took us to Sweet Chick, where we shared an order of mac and cheese and fried chicken and waffles. The flavored butter that came with the waffles was so good! Manu’s breakfast burrito was so big, he had to take half of it home.

Look! We spotted a double rainbow.

Dragged them to the Sondre Lerche show as I’ve already mentioned previously. We couldn’t leave LA without having some tacos, of course. Ate these in the freezing cold by the road after the show. Delicious—even if my tongue was already burning after a single bite of the al pastor.

As you can already tell, it was very hard to keep my money in my wallet.

We hit up most of the grocery stores for pasalubong and personal shopping. My cousins were wondering why I had drugstores on my list. Hello, we don’t get the same beauty products as you, I told them. I’m sad that most of the snacks I bought are gone. Must figure out how I can stock up on Trader Joe’s Toasted Coconut Granola because it’s so yummy.

A lovely day at Abbot Kinney Boulevard

At least three people told me to go to Abbot Kinney Boulevard when I asked for LA recos. Did not disappoint! I loved the shops and all the good eats. We tried the pizza from Gjelina, coffee from Blue Bottle, doughnuts from Blue Star Donuts, and ice cream from Van Leeuwen. We also stopped by the Venice Canals where my brother took lovely photos of my Hey Kessy Jewelry/Pottery clay jewelry. Before heading home, we met up with Kookee’s friends and had dinner at Maximiliano. Stuffed ourselves with cacio e pepe, burrata, and calamari amidst the heating lamps in their outdoor area.

The main event: Gail and Eric’s wedding

Of course the reason why we were all there in the first place: Gail and Eric’s wedding. I was 8 when I last saw Gail and the rest of her family in the States. They’d come home to the Philippines and we’d take a couple of quick trips but I never got to go back to LA until this trip. So happy we made it happen. Loved how intimate their wedding was and they had such good music! It was also nice to hang with our US-based cousins at the reception. Some of them we only get to see at our annual reunion (if they even come to the Philippines for the holidays).

I’m definitely missing the cool weather and all the fun things we did on the trip. For now, I shall just keep posting and remembering them until I can plan another vacation.

Check out my photo diary of San Diego here.

Ten Things I’m Thankful For

Feeling quite disappointed with the outcome of yesterday’s election, but stories like 29-year-old Vico Sotto winning against a 27-year-old dynasty in Pasig still gives me hope. Something he said in an FB Live interview struck me. The people like those in his precinct (Valle Verde 5) still won’t be affected whether or not he wins—they’ll survive and it probably won’t matter who is in office. But there are so many people without that privilege clamoring for change and they’re the ones who rely so much on the government’s policies. These are the people he met and reached out to on his campaign trail and he promised them a change in politics. Because it’s true that the government is not just for one faction, it’s for every single one of us. If only this is how all our lawmakers would approach their job—whether they’re from the administration or opposition—can you imagine what kind of Philippines we would be living in? Hopefully this isn’t just wishful thinking because if it happened in one city, surely it can spread to the whole country, right? On a day like today, I think it’s even more important to count our blessings and look on the bright side. Tomorrow is another day to be better.

♡ my right to vote for the leaders I think my country deserves
♡ a pretty smooth voting experience. my brother and I headed to our precinct at 7 in the morning and we were having pancakes and waffles for breakfast less than an hour later.
♡ finally getting my hands on the jessica darling series by megan mccafferty (currently reading charmed thirds)
♡ finishing terrace house: opening doors part 6 and finding out they featured fukuoka in an episode—currently mapping out an itinerary for this city so I was thrilled to see this
♡ getting to see jason mraz in concert again (I’ve seen him almost all the times he’s been here. I guess there’s no stopping us?)
♡ moving into a new place and slowly turning it into a home
♡ seeing my friends more than just once a month (thanks to balikbayans and new babies)
♡ painting sanrio characters with mira and her asking if she could take home the part I drew on so she has a copy of my drawings, too
the best compliment about my cookies ever
♡ filing taxes for a new quarter, a new year (can you believe this is year 2 of freelancing already?)

Currently / April 2019

Music Monday

Not even 24 hours after arriving from my 2-week trip, I had to fly out the next afternoon to Singapore. My friend Patty snagged us tickets to John Mayer’s concert and I was excited. Though he didn’t play “Daughters,” the set list was a pretty good mix. Did not expect him to play “In Your Atmosphere,” so that was a pleasant surprise.

Tasty Tuesday

Got to eat a lot of my faves this month. Old reliables plus new ones. Hoping to explore the kitchen again now that we’ve moved homes. Trying to do menu planning so that we don’t eat the same thing every week.

Wishful Wednesday

Like I mentioned, we moved into a new place this month. It still feels kind of strange to be in a completely new neighborhood. I’ve lived in houses all my life, so this new setup will take some getting used to. On the bright side, our bedrooms all face the sunset so there’s always this golden glow just before dusk. Here’s hoping we make happy memories in this new space.

Thoughtful Thursday

My friend Em invited me to attend an event hosted by Belle de Jour and Neutrogena. Loved that they invited Trixie Esguerra to give a vision board workshop to the attendees.

Em was the one who introduced me to setting intentions and taught me to always ask for “this or something better.” I’m a big believer of manifesting the things you want and learning more about vision boarding made me excited about setting goals this year.

I got a kick out of seeing one of my bylines in one of the magazines we were given as material for the vision boards. Here’s to taking dreams and making them reality.

Fashion Friday

Who knew that at 36, I’d still be taking OOTD photos and posting them online for all to see, lol. It was hard not to with such pretty backdrops, so I turned those photos into an article. Haha! Thanks to the Preview team for always indulging me and my pitches.

I say never say never. There’s always a first time for everything and who knows, maybe you’ll find that it’s actually worth trying.

Photo Diary: San Diego, California

I talked about my trip briefly in the last post, but wanted to share a few photos from my vacation. Honestly, I’m just missing the cool weather, everyone I got to see, and all the places we got to visit, so I’m just looking for an excuse to reminisce. Haha!

On the day I arrived, my half (we’ve always been mistaken for sisters or twins when we were younger) Binky picked me up from my aunt’s place. She planned a weekend trip to San Diego, so she could take me around. We had to leave her youngest Ella with her in-laws but I got to hang with her firstborn Enzo all weekend long!

Her husband Jay’s friend was celebrating his birthday that weekend, too, so it all just came together. Jay would have his boy’s weekend and I’d get to tour the city with Binky and Enzo.

Before we got to the hotel, we headed out to Ocean Boulevard with a view of the Pacific Beach. After a failed attempt at the PB Shore Club, we ended up in Duck Dive on Mission Boulevard for a late lunch. It was filled with college kids (I assumed) on spring break so everyone was knocking back drinks and/or in green. After the meals I didn’t finish on my first day, I decided to split a burger with Binky. Good decision!

After lunch, Jay drove us back to downtown and we checked into the Double Tree. They gave us complimentary cookies still warm from the oven. Mmm.

We checked out the playground in Harborview, where we had the most amazing view of the sunset. Before walking back to our hotel, they took me to Little Italy, which is a quaint little neighborhood peppered with restaurants, pubs, and bars. It was a chilly night (especially for this tropical girl), but we made sure to stop for pizza before heading back. We ended up at Landini’s Pizzeria where we got the daily special. Got a pesto slice with a Cherry Coke.

In the morning, we had breakfast at Cafe Gratitude, which I had pinned in my Google Maps list for places to check out on this trip. TBH, I only know about this place because of Jason Mraz (lol) but it was an interesting experience and I enjoyed everything we ordered.

After checking out, we drove to Old Town San Diego, which felt like something out of Westworld minus the murderous robots. Haha! I loved walking around and ducking into the stores, where the sales attendants were in costume. Got a few keepsakes for pasalubong, too.

After a quick walk around and taking tons of photos at Old Town, we headed back to LA, where we picked up Ella before heading to Alyn’s place for her husband Joe’s birthday.

We spent the rest of the evening eating, catching up, and watching Enzo score goals with his ate KK. Really wish I had more time with Alyn and Binky, but I’m glad we were able to find a common weekend to hang out. Infinite thanks to the Aquinos for welcoming me into their home and taking me out to San Diego. Can’t wait to see you guys back here in Manila!

Currently / March 2019

Easing myself back into normalcy after a 2-and-a-half-week break. I figured maybe this post will help me jump-start my writing.

Music Monday

Meeting Sondre Lerche after his show at Largo

If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll know that I had the most incredible fangirling moment in Los Angeles when I caught Sondre Lerche’s show at Largo at the Coronet. As luck would have it, he had a show scheduled on the day we got back from a quick trip to Vegas. After a quick consult with my cousin (I let her listen to “After All”), I bought us tickets to that night’s show. He came out to meet fans after the show and I told him I was so happy to have caught the show since I was visiting from the Philippines. 😛

Here’s an attempt at recreating the playlist (although he played a couple of new songs at the start, so I couldn’t add those on Spotify).

Tasty Tuesday

This isn’t everything but I only had a few minutes during my trip to paint. Memorable dining experience was at Cafe Gratitude where they had a unique way of ordering. Of course I played along and told the server, “I am marvelous and I am vivid.” Haha! After which, he shared the Question of the Day to inspire our discussion at the table: “When are you most at peace?” Safe to say, any time I’m on vacation, I am totally at peace.

Wishful Wednesday

After getting our visas approved mid-February, everything about this trip just went by so fast. From booking our tickets to flying out and figuring out our daily itinerary. I had to tell myself to slow down and enjoy each moment.

I’m just grateful for all the people I got to spend time with on this trip and everyone who made sure we had an amazing time. Wishing for more rackets so I can plan a next one!

Thoughtful Thursday

Still learning how to balance my wins with my losses. I think I’ve gotten better at accepting rejection. These days, I don’t take it to heart especially when I know that it’s not a right fit. Not everything is for me, and that’s okay.

Fashion Friday

Even before flying out, I was doing a survey on whether or not I should purchase this bag. (Everyone I asked told me to buy it, btw.) I guess I was hesitant because I’ve never really purchased anything so pricey. In the end, the decision was ultimately mine. I told myself that if the color I wanted was not available, it was going to be a no. When we got to the store, the pleated buckets weren’t even on display. So, I quietly went up to the sales attendants to ask if they were available. One of them said, “Of course.” And then the magic words, “Only black and blush available.” And I guess the rest is history. LOL!

The lesson here is: It’s totally okay to spend your hard-earned money on something you really want. You deserve a treat once in a while. You can always earn it back. Plus, my bag is so cute. Heh. So buy the damn bag.

Ten Things I’m Thankful For

I keep thinking to do this list every Tuesday, but I wake up and it’s Wednesday and I shelve it for another week. Today, I remembered because I’m currently procrastinating while waiting for people to get back to me. I have one more major article to finish before a two-week trip and I can’t wait to turn my to-do list into a ta-da list. In the meantime, there’s a lot to be grateful for, so here we go.

♡ giving a short talk on feature writing to first and second graders—so lovely to see them furiously writing on their notebooks after interviewing each other
♡ booking jobs—big and small—that keep me on my toes
♡ making big girl decisions and real world investments (ahhh!)
♡ getting back into writing after a couple of months of not doing it. some favorites in the past couple of weeks: a cover story for gma news online; something to enable the barrette-obsessed people everywhere; that time I dressed like tarot cards for a week; and this lesson on herstory and street signs
♡ making a new font and launching a new jewelry collection
♡ getting together with my friends and celebrating milestones (birthdays, baby showers, and everything in between)
♡ getting our visas approved, booking tickets, and finally making this trip happen
♡ snagging tickets to a panel featuring one of my favorite tv shows, yasss
♡ getting our piano fixed after years of not touching it—and still remembering how to play
♡ hulu! I’ve finished watching pen15 and grown-ish, and now I’m going through the bold type

Back to work until it’s finally vacation time!

Currently / February 2019

January felt like an entire year then February just flew over my head. It’s like I blinked once and it’s done. That said, I can’t transition into March without listing down some of my favorites of the month.

Music Monday

I’ve probably mentioned it before, but I’ve been loving John Mayer’s IG Live Show Current Mood and was super psyched when Patty was able to snag us tickets to his show in Singapore. So, you can imagine how happy I was to hear his new music (technically, not 100% brand new since he’s already performed this track late last year). Can’t wait to hear him play this live.

Tasty Tuesday

This isn’t my first time having it, but I’m so happy that Pizza Morena has a branch near me. I first had it in 2015 at the Block Party in Ayala Alabang. My favorite one is their signature Morena made with mozzarella, mascarpone, pistachios, honey, and truffle oil. It’s so good, you have to try it.

Wishful Wednesday

Practical Magic starter deck 6 of swords card

The month started out pretty interesting with a prospective job offer and then it ended on a sour-ish note when that offer fell through. It’s been about a year of freelancing and I feel like I’ve grown so much in the past 12 months. Macy 1.0 would’ve been devastated not getting that job, but Macy 2.0 (lol) is actually chill about it. Also, I should stop talking about myself like I’m someone else. Haha!

When I met up with my former teammates, I updated them on everything that’s been going on and realized that it’s only been two months into the year. I think that we tend to focus on the things that don’t go our way, so we forget about all the good things that have happened.

I’m really quite hopeful for the year—opening myself up to a new business venture, exploring different career opportunities, and possibly going on more trips.

Thoughtful Thursday

Another thing I’ve started doing this year is signing up for things I normally would shy away from. I realize that working from home can make you shut out the rest of the world. But if you want to grow and learn, you need to open yourself up to an environment you wouldn’t usually find yourself in. Luckily, there are some seminars and workshops that you can join for free if you’re not fully committed to dipping into your savings. Just this month, I attended a Creative Boot Camp, met Lauren Hom (I’m a huge fan of her Daily Dishonesty project), and learned about promoting social impact in business.

One of my favorite quotes is from Sophie’s World and it goes, “Wisest is she who knows she does not know.” It has stuck with me all these years because I believe that learning never really stops. Our brains just keep expanding, making way for new knowledge and skills.

Fashion Friday

Getting my ears pierced
Rachel Ravana doing her thang. And my pretty new heart stud earring from Hey Kessy Jewelry.

So, we finally launched my Ceramic Jewelry Collection with Hey Kessy Jewelry and Hey Kessy Pottery. At the launch, I finally got my third piercing after a total of 6 hours flip-flopping whether I’d get one or not. Haha! It’s been 2 weeks and it’s been healing well. I still have to wait 3 and a half months more before I can switch it out, but I’ve been itching to change it already!

I’m also packing for a two-week trip in two weeks and of course, my favorite place to look for inspo is Madewell’s page. I mean, c’mon. Love!

I think March is going to be amazing. I’m glad it’s finally here.

How I Made My Ceramic Jewelry Collection for Hey Kessy Jewelry

Around this time last year, I was finishing up the details for my very first hair accessories line with Dandy Ona Jewelry. This time around, we launched my ceramic jewelry collection with its sister brand Hey Kessy Jewelry.

Back in November, I visited the Hey Kessy Pottery studio with my friend Kaich. I made a few earring prototypes based on some images swirling in my head. Just like my first collection with Dandy Ona, I was really just playing around with the medium as I have no formal training in pottery or designing earrings.

Some ghost-mermaid-tail hybrid that were actually inspired by a photo of mushrooms on Instagram and a bunch of noodle-y Us or Cs.

We did them in varying thickness because I wasn’t sure how thin I could go before they’d break. You’ll see throughout the progress pictures how many of these actually survive the rounds of firing.

Bisque wares freshly painted with underglaze, ready for another round in the kiln.

In late January, I came back to the studio to paint the bisque earrings. Looking pretty good, right? But also, some already broke, so I was praying that all of these would survive the next firing. Do you like the colors I chose?

Design + actual glazed pieces

I took some photos of the glazed pieces to show the goldsmiths how I wanted the fixings to be attached on the ceramic parts. It’s always fun to wait and see how these come out because the artisans get pretty creative with their interpretation.

Yesterday, I finally saw the finished pieces in person at Hey Kessy’s Valentine Pop-up in UP Town Center. Dandy Ona Jewelry also released their Valentine collection, so we had a piercing party to celebrate.

Macy Alcaraz Ceramic Jewelry Collection for Hey Kessy Jewelry
At the launch yesterday in Hey Kessy UP Town Center

After much convincing (6 hours and I-can’t-count-how-many people, I finally got an extra piercing on my lobe at the end of the pop-up. Thank you, Rachel of Piercings by Ravana for accommodating this indecisive girl. Haha!

Infinite thanks to my constant collaborator Mansy of Hey Kessy and Dandy Ona for always encouraging me to try new things and supporting my ideas. Can’t believe this is our second collection already! Thanks to Wina, Cay, and the rest of Hey Kessy and Dandy Ona team for setting everything up yesterday.

If you want to see the collection, head to @heykessyjewelry on Instagram and send them a message through DM or through email for orders. You can send them requests for custom orders, too!

What Happens After Everyone Leaves

Why the loneliest days come after you bury the dead.

When death comes, the support is almost immediate, overwhelming even. Messages of condolences—what does that even mean, really?—start pouring in as soon as they hear about the unfortunate news. People come in droves right before you’re left to deal with your grief by yourself at the end of the day.

And you’re fine when you’re surrounded by people. People who have known your loved one and share stories from a happier time, one where your loved one was still alive. They share your grief, they hold your hand, they offer prayers for the deceased and the bereaved. And that’s all well and good, and of course, very much appreciated. But what happens after the leave?

My brothers and I lost our mom to liver cirrhosis almost 11 years ago in 2008. We were twenty-somethings suddenly left with the responsibility of raising ourselves. Our father had suffered a stroke due to an aneurysm on the left side of his brain a decade before our mother passed away. All of a sudden, we had to learn to take care not just of ourselves, but also our dad.

I’d like to think that we’ve handled the situation we’ve been dealt with as much grace as we could possibly muster. You would think that death would be easier the second time around. It isn’t.

Here are 3 things I’ve learned about grief.

We all deal with grief differently.
Some people like to keep themselves busy to distract them from the loneliness. Some people like to wallow in the pain, let the tears flow endlessly until their eyes run dry. Some people like to talk about it, tell the story over and over until it becomes almost systematic and devoid of feelings. And there’s no wrong or right way to do it. It’s been a week of waking up and crying in bed for me and I just let myself. But I also allow myself to talk about silly, trivial things like how there are two documentaries chronicling the disaster that is Fyre Fest or omg Chris Pratt is engaged?

It’s okay not to say anything when people message you.
The easiest way to commiserate for most people is to send a message of sympathy. I cannot count the times I’ve read the word “Condolences” in the past 2 weeks. I know it’s supposed to comfort you, but even after losing both my parents, this word certainly doesn’t do anything to the immense sadness in my heart. And even if that’s the case, I appreciate the messages all the same. I’ve learned that I can be grateful without having to reply to every single person who sends me “Condolences.”

The loneliest days come after you bury the dead.
If anything, the days when you’re at the wake are actually bearable. You see people you haven’t seen in months, years. They bring you mass cards and money and food. They share stories about the person you’ve just lost, and it feels comforting to reminisce about the better days. Often, there’s more laughter than tears at the burial. But when you lie in bed and wake up the next morning, you realize that the person is no longer there. That’s when it hits you. When you wake up for breakfast and your dad who is usually the first one at the dining table is no longer here. That’s when you feel your heart breaking over and over again. It’s not the first time I’ve had to deal with death in my family and it’s most likely not the last. I’m trying to deal with grief better by allowing myself to cope the best way I know how. These days, it’s giving myself room to cry, to laugh, to live through this. I’m taking it one day at a time and I know one morning, I’ll wake up and my tears won’t fall anymore. But for now, pass the tissue please.

I wrote this a little over a week after my dad’s burial. Happy to report that the tears have been few and far in between. Today’s plans included opening up the lone biscuit box left over from his wake. I’m sure there’s some sort of poetic meaning to eating the cookies on Valentine’s Day of all days. And if there’s none, well, I’m pretty sure my dad would’ve loved sharing a few pieces with me if he were still here.