A cup of tea

Well, it’s a chilly mid-week morning today. As I sit into my cubicle with my hot cup of Moroccan tea while browsing the net, I noticed that I haven’t visited my blog for EONS of years (hehe)! So, where have I been eh? No, definitely not visiting the Queen. 

Seriously, I was just busy on several projects that I neglected to write (sorry…). However, my hiatus has given me opportunities and more experiences that I will share here (promise). For starters, I have started two personal projects that have taken a lot of my time and effort for the last few months. 

Be Fit

Admittedly, I had neglected my health for several years that resulted to health complications and obesity. I started this year with a goal to lose at least 20 lbs this year. So I drag myself to the gym, started working out and choosing healthier food options. And I am so happy that I already achieved my goal in just 6 months! 

From 200 lbs in 2016 to a 180 lbs by June 2017 😉

 Be Ready for Rainy Days

I realized that I am not young anymore and that I need to be more disciplined with my finances if I want to retire in peace when I am in my senior years. That is why I have set up my financial goals this year and push myself very hard to save and invest. And that means learning to curb my spending and be more financially literate. So my first step is build my emergency fund by opening a savings account and take on the 52- week challenge. So far, I stick to my savings plan and now I am reviewing several policies for other investments such as VULs and mutual funds. ✌

Less spending, more savings 👌

In between these two things, I still have my 9am to 6pm regular jobs and family to take care of so my hands are really full. Nevertheless, I am back. 😉

It’s a Planner Thing (& You Wouldn’t Understand)

I’ve recently discovered the art of kawaii planning and I was hooked since the first time that I tried it. Now my IG feed is full of pictures of my planners (yes, I am using multiple planners! 😊) with my personalized and fully decorated monthly and weekly spreads. 


My partner somehow stumbled upon my new hobby (thanks to the messy stickers and washis), scratched his head and asked me if I still really use my planner for the purpose of planning. Well of course I do and my planning gets even better each day. Not sure how to react, I told him that “hey, it’s a planner thing you wouldn’t understand”.

For some of you who has no clue on what I am talking about, planner decorating or kawaii journaling is a way of creatively putting in entries to your planners or journals rather than the usual black and white scheme (which admittedly gets so boring more often). It is in a way a personal work of art with mixtures of different media,paper and pen. And you may ask, what do we gain from it? Let me give you my reasons why I am so obsessed with it now.

It gives my planner its own personality


Decorating my planner not only beautifies every plain pages but also gives it  a personality of its own. Oftentimes, it is a reflection of my own thoughts and emotions. Thus, it is no longer just a Happy Planner or Erin Condren, it has become me. 

It makes remembering things easy and pleasing to the eyes


I am a visual person and I easily remember things by what they look. Thus, when I decorate my planner it is easier for me to remember things  and events by having a visual reference. Plus, when the going gets tough and I have a very bad or toxic day, I have something beautiful to look forward to to lift my mood. 😉

It makes me goal-setting a breeze


I use my planner not only for daily schedules but to set short- term and long term goals. Thus, decorating it with my favorite things create an on the go vision board for me. Planner decorating makes me stick to my goal even more than when it was just the plain black and white it used to be. 

It unleashes my inner Van Gogh


I must admit that I am a frustrated artist.I love arts but because of my busy corporate schedule, I haven’t got the chance to fully explore my artistic side. Planner decorating gives me the license to be creative and to use every pages as a canvass that I can carry with me wherever I go. 

I gain new friends

Planner community is growing fast.And because of social media, planner junkies can easily exchange ideas, share their works and encourage each other. Joining the community opens me to a more diverse perspective and gain new friends who share the same passion. Isn’t that the biggest plus? 😙
I can still think a thousand reasons but it would take a lifetime to enumerate them all. I am grateful that I discovered this hobby. And I don’t plan to stop anytime soon. 

Happy Kalat! 😉

Five Useful Hacks for the Busybees

Are you the type of person who easily gets overwhelmed by the tasks that you need to tackle? Or do you always forget the things that you need to do so you end up not doing your top priority? Maybe you lost track of time and you have to hurry to get into your appointments so you feel less prepared. 

If your busy schedule is already driving you nuts, here are some tips for you, busy bees, to save you from insanity because of tight schedules and gigantic task.

Plan Ahead

Nothing beats good planning everytime you have so much things in your hand. Set a side a time to sit down and write down all the things that you need to do for the whole week. Determine how much time you need for each task and decide for the best day to do them. Start from your top priorities to things that can wait. The best thing to keep track of your task is jotting them down in a planner. You will be surprised that after you’ve written down your plans, they are less daunting to tackle anymore. 😊

Put together a capsule wardrobe

(Image: http://www.decoist.com)

Half of the time, the reason why we are late for an appointment is that we cannot decide what are we going to wear. And this is true when you are faced with a closetful of clothes. The best thing to do is put together a capsule wardrobe in one part of your closet. This is a collection of a no brainer, classic and versatile pieces of clothing and accessories that you can throw on when you are running late. 

Keep your things in strategic place

(Image: http://www.thatgirlcathy.me)

Assign an area in your house or even your room to place the things that you almost always need to bring with you when you leave the house. This can be near your door or on your bedside table, wherever it is handy for you to grab and go if you are in a hurry. 

Invest in a bag organizer

Changing your bag when you are trying to keep up with your busy schedule may freak you out especially if you cannot find all the things that you need to bring with you. Buying a good size bag organizer that will fit most of your bags is definitely worth the investment. You can easily put everything you need to bring in all its compartments- wallets, keys, makeup kits and other essentials- and have your things easily transferred to another bag in no time if you need to change your purse.

Edit your makeup kit

Looking your best is one thing that you need to maintain even on a very hectic day. But lugging too much makeup can be so distracting as well. Keeping your makeup kit to a minimum is the best way to address your beauty needs without goig overboard. Use products that are multi-functional and can take your look from day to night so you can pare down the number of palettes and tubes in your kit. If you want to throw in some extras, you can keep a small stash in your office drawer or car compartment, just in case you need a little more. 😉

Learning a few tricks to lessen your prep time will definitely improve how you look into your busy schedules. Once you master these tricks, tackling your daily tasks will never be stressful again. 

The dog that gave me another shot at life

I grew up loving dogs. Our family had 4 mixed breeds and they were a loving bunch. But when I went to college, my interaction with dogs became less since I was too busy studying. And after several more years, our dogs that I grew up with passed away one by one. Up until then, I seem to lose interest with dogs but I do pat one in the head whenever I find a pup that will not bite.

Two years ago, my partner has convinced me to buy a dog from a K-9 service company that was closing down. Having almost always alone in the house at that time (my partner’s work assignments at that time were out of the metro) I agreed to get a dog. When we came to the kennel to pick up a dog, I immediately took a liking at the matured, big labrador dog that the keeper brought out from the cage. So we brought Tetay home with us at that day. 

The robust dame is a retired bomb explosive sniffing dog and her demeanor is calm and submissive. This has been one of the factors why we get along well. But there were episodes that she got bored and chewed everything in the house. 😣 

Day by day, we grew up to like each other. We took walks together when my partner is not around. She would be up all night making sure that no one would force their way inside house. We would even eat together. But more than anything else, Tetay has saved me from my lowest point in my life.

I had so much pressures at that time- work, relationships, family. I had so much in my plate that day by day, I started to go down the dumps. I initially thought that the blues were temporary. However, my anxiety attacks grew worst especially when I was home alone. I would not sleep until the wee hours of the morning and by the time I got to shut down my eyes,nightmares would woke me up shaking and crying. 

Through these trying times, Tetay would come inside the room, put her head in my shoulders and tried to comfort me. She would never leave my side until the anxiety attacks were over, until I got back to sleep. Maybe she sensed something was wrong at that time because she refused to leave my side. She was always there for me. She has become my comfort. 

Those episodes have longed passed. And the more I think of it today, the more I appreciate the value of friendship that I developed with my dog. She treated me as her own family, not only a bestfriend. And as she starts to grow old, I cannot and will not give up on her until the end because she did not give up on me when I was about to give up on myself. 

20K and Counting: Ways to Grow your Php 20K

What will you do if you have Php 20,000 in your wallet? 

Nowadays, Php 20,000  not a fairly big amount in terms of purchasing power unlike several years before.But if your are wise enough, you can grow this Php 20k over time. All you need you neec to do is to know where to invest it. Not sure where to put it? Here are some tips to invest your 20k smartly:

Start a small business


With a 20k capital, be your own boss and start your own small business. There are a lot of business ideas out there to choose from ranging from food to fashion to service. With the advent of the internet, you don’t need to rent a commercial place in order for you to showcase your products and reach potential buyers. In order to become successful in growing your Php20k to unlimited income you need to consider these things (1). start a business that you are passionate about and (2) offer good quality products and at par customer service.

Set up an emergency fund


Most of us are guilty of not considering putting up an emergency fund for rainy days. If you have not set up one yet, your Php 20,000 is a good amount to start it up. Set  a time deposit for your fund and religiously grow your savings until such time that you are confident enough that you have enough money to cover your three month expenses just in case something happens to you or you suddenly lose your job. In this way your mind is at ease that you have something to fall back just in times of dire financial needs.

Invest in UITFs or Mutual Funds


Many people are afraid to invest in the stock market because of its volatility and are afraid that they might lose their money in the long run. However, if you want to grow your money exponentially, stock market is one of the best ways to do it since the percentage of yield is higher than bank interests. You can choose to put your money in a unit investment trust funds wherein your money is being managed by financial managers and are invested in stocks deemed to yield high percentage of return fo a period of time. Or, you can pool it in mutual fund and choose the stocks to invest in. 

Build your retirement fund


We do have the government sponsored retirement plan program like the SSS and GSIS but it is always nice to have a retirement plan of your own to look forward to when you finally quit your job. Many banks and financial institutions are offering retirement plan programs for a surprisingly small amount of money. Start your retirement plan now and enjoy your golden years without worrying about money. 

Invest in yourself


One of the best investments is to invest in yourself. Enrich yourself with new knowlegde that you can use to advance your career. Or you can always learn new things that you can use in the future like new hobbies. 

There is no big or small amount if you set your heart and your mind to grow your money. You have many options out there. All you need to do is to start doing it. 

Postcards from Baler- Getting Lost and Finding Myself Back

It was an impromptu decision on my part to join my officemates to a trip to Baler, Aurora. In fact, it was a quick one that I hardly had time to change my mind. I am not an impulsive person, especially on cases like this. I was trained to assess first prior to making any decisions. However, there is something about the idea of going off somewhere that was un-planned that made me say yes that instant. Maybe I just needed a break.

We left Manila slightly after midnight. I was slightly uncomfortable on my seat knowing that I’ll be travelling to unknown place, albeit I know the people I was travelling with. Luckily, I got few hours of sleep but that bumpy ride on the dead of the night left so much misgivings that I had to wake up several times. Before dawn, we arrived at our destination and the view of the rising sun greeted our still sleepy selves together with the century-old banyan tree.

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Our itinerary was full that day and it did not gave us time to rest. We took the city tour that morning and we visited several interesting places within the town proper. Baler prides itself on its simplicity that it showed in all aspects of the little town’s life. That simplicity of life had a certain innate beauty incomparable to others.

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We left the town by mid-morning to take on the more adventurous side of Baler. We are hyped for adventure that day that we did not care about how hard or how long would the trek be before we reached our destination. And finding ourselves entering the scenic and breathtaking views of what nature could offer us there was worth all the bodyache that we went through. I completely lost myself and I let my mind and spirit immersed into the grandeur and natural beauty of the places. Strange enough, I found a certain peace and solace to these places that I could not care less of who I am. I slept soundly that night.

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Baler was known for its high waves, and long stretch of beaches that make it one of the sought after surfing spots in the country. And the next day, even if our body still ached from the previous day’s adventure, we were determined to try out “riding the waves”. We rented surf boards and with the help of local instructors, we tried very hard to get up into our surf boards. For the whole hour, I rode, paddled, and crashed down on my rented board. As the waves slammed into my surf board, A self-realization had dawned into me that made me change on how I see myself as a person.

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For the last few years, I have been too busy making a career of my own, of proving my self-worth and to look for a brighter future. Little did I knew that I completely lost myself in the process. As the rushing waves came into me and slammed my body down to the water, I realized that I had too much burden within me that affected my being. Too many heartaches, unmet expectations and frustrations and rejections made me tough but then it also eroded some essence of my humanity. Every time I fell down on the board and let myself be carried underwater made me experience the turbulence that I long shunned and acknowledged. I realized that despite the success, I am somehow unhappy, discontented and depressed. The dark instinct is lurking behind me again that if left unchecked, I may not be able to know myself again. So I just let myself be carried by the waters, slammed my body by the waves, fell into the sea and scorched by the sun just so I could let go of all the burdens that I was carrying.

I would have loved to stay a little while but we need to go home after our surfing fun. But I can say that Baler did my spirit and whole being good. It changed my perspectives and I went home with contentment in my heart. I left the place I came back home a better person.

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Jumping the rainbow loom bandwagon

An office mate of mine has introduced me to loom bands which piqued my curiosity that it made me want to try it also. So the next day I bought a starter kit and tried this loom band craze and I immediately got hooked. For one, it is a form of arts and crafts like my beaded jewelry which I would normally do whenever my hectic schedule permits. But more so, these tiny rubber bands being weaved into bracelets and charms reminds me of my childhood wherein we linked regular sized rubber bands and used it as our jump ropes. Looming these rubber bands into different patterns of colored bracelets brings joyful memories of my childhood where everything around me was colorful and harmoneous.

Looming has also help me manage my stress level. Whenever I feel like freaking out, I would just sit at one corner and loom. It helps me calm down and clears my cluttered mind. I would always be teased for lugging my kit along with me in the office but the hell I care, I could make as many bracelets as I want as long as I am not disturbing anybody. 😉

As of writing, I think I already made about a hundred bracelets, most of them I gave away while some of them I have already sold (yes, my time was never wasted on this craft coz I made a hefty sum already selling them also. 🙂 ). And I think I would never get tired of looming as long as there are rubber bands to loom.

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my Monster Tail loom